Informal care giving and home health care
Shawn Britt, CLU®, CLTC®
Director, Advanced Consulting Group
Informal caregiving is facing a crisis in America — “baby boomers” are aging into retirement, and with that is the increasing need for senior services and long-term care (LTC) supports. The boomers thus far are the largest population to retire, yet they face a unique challenge that past generations escaped — who will be available to provide the care they may need?
Studies show that 74% of people would prefer to receive LTC at home1
However, the number of people available to work for agencies that provide home health care (HHC) is barely growing compared to the number of people
that will need HHC services — estimated to be 120 million by 2024.2 To make matters worse, turnover rates are high in the home care industry, exceeding
70%.2 Thus, the HHC industry is bracing itself for a shortage of labor to fill the much needed caregiving positions.
That could bring a greater need for informal caregivers to step in and provide help in order to keep an individual from being forced into a facility simply
because professional care services at home were not readily available. But the people charged with these tasks may not be able to financially afford to step
away from a job or even reduce working hours.
What is an informal caregiver?
Simply put, it is an unpaid individual — usually a spouse or partner, family member, friend or neighbor — who assists an individual in need of help with
activities of daily living (ADLs) or other living and medical needs. Some of these needs may be what are called instrumental activities of daily living
(iADLS). This care is usually given in a home setting.