Home Health Aides in High Demand with Aging Population

Shifts in numbers in each generation provides a potential solution

For Gen X’ers or older millennials, it seems we’ve spent most of our adult lives hearing warnings about the aging population. Baby Boomers, after all, are defined by Pew Research Center as anyone born between the years 1946 and 1964. Theoretically, that will mean as of next year, at least half the Baby Boomer generation has reached the age of 65, still widely accepted as retirement age. 

With an estimated 10,000 people reaching the age of 65 every day between the year 2011 and 2030, the composition of this country in terms of distribution of population among age groups is changing rapidly. But according to one of Pew’s studies, the average Baby Boomer doesn’t believe that true ‘old age’ begins until age 72,

Connect the dots – the population is inarguably aging, but those reaching ages 65 and older are increasingly confident in their own independence for longer periods of time. They wish to remain in their own homes, even if it means asking for a little extra help every now and then.

Where will they find this help? We turn to yet another set of data, this one from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, which states that by the year 2028, the demand for home health aides will increase by about 35 percent from where it currently stands, creating a job market that can accommodate about 4.5 million professionals. 

Some more key statistics from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics on Home Health Aides (statistics as of mid-2018):

Median Pay: $24,060 per year ($11.57 per hour)

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Work Experience Required or in a Related Occupation: None

On-the-job training: Short-term

Number of Jobs in 2018: 3.25 million

Rate of Expected Growth over the next 10 years: 36% (much faster than average)

Employment Change between now and 2028: 1.19 million jobs

By helping people with disabilities, chronic diseases, or cognitive impairment to perform their daily activities, home health aides make it possible for aging adults to maintain a semblance of independence, or remain in their preferred place of residence for an extended period. Home health aides can work in a variety of settings, including clients’ homes, group homes, and day services programs.

Those working in certified home health or in hospice programs will need to pass a proficiency test or its equivalent and perhaps participate in formal training.

“As the baby-boom population ages and the elderly population grows, the demand for the services of home health aides and personal care aides will continue to increase,” reads the Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ website.

But where will the influx of available professionals originate? According to our friends back at the Pew Research Institute, 2019 is the year Millennials are slated to overtake Baby Boomers as the largest single generation in the United States. Debates continue over the cutoff for who is or is not a millennial, but at the Pew Research Institute, Millennials are considered to be anyone born between the years of 1981 and 1996. Generation X (considered anyone born between 1965 and 1980) is projected to surpass Baby Boomers in numbers in the year 2028.

In many (most?) cases, Millennials are the children of Baby Boomers, and so it’s not surprising that these young professionals may be those called upon in the home health profession to care for a growing population of older adults. 

Coming soon: One expert’s potential solution for the budding home health crisis.

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