An American Study has warned that the demand for care services, such as respite care, is set to dramatically increase in the next decade.
Ageing baby boomers
The study, conducted by researchers from the Centre for Retirement Research, Gal Wettstein and Alice Zulkarnain, claims that demand is due to increase due to the rise of baby boomers that will be aged 80 and over in the next 10 years.
“As baby boomers enter their 80s, a large increase in the demand for long-term care is likely, with a commensurate rise in the reliance on care from their children,” the report states.
“Since boomers had fewer children per household than the previous generation, this development will place an unprecedented burden on their children, with implications for their physical, mental, and financial well-being.”
Baby boomers is a term used to refer to a person born in the years following the Second World War, typically within a period between 1946 and 1964.
After the war, that was a dramatic temporary increase in the birth rate, creating the largest living generation until the millennial generation, which is someone born between the years 1980 and 2000.
The study also looked into various aged care trends, with a particular focus on informal care provided by family members.
Key findings included that many informal care providers are adult children and that 17% will take on the role of caregiver at some point in their lives.
Adult children who become carers for a parent were estimated to work an average of 77 hours a month, which the study says can cause significant financial and health problems for the carer in question.
In terms of demographics, daughters of elderly parents are more likely to take on a caring role than sons in a similar situation, with unmarried daughters being the most prominent group.
In addition, those living closer to their parents were more likely to be caregivers than those that lived further away.
The report also states the marital status of a person’s parents can also play a role in the likelihood of adult children becoming carers.
“Finally, marital history seems to be important, with children providing care to married parents and to divorced and widowed mothers at similar rates, while caring significantly less for divorced fathers,” the study explains.
A focus on respite care
With these statistics and the worry of an ageing baby boomer generation, the study states there will be an increased demand for care services in the next ten years.
For those elderly parents wishing to remain at home and avoid moving into long-term care, the study suggests there should be an increase in the support and resources available to families to aid them in achieving this.
American home health industry groups, such as The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), have also voiced similar concerns.
In June last year, the group campaigned for a larger respite care program, which would enable adult children carers a break from time to time by offering day respite or overnight respite to the elderly.