A concurrent resolution that has passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives is an important first step in addressing the looming age wave crisis that could jeopardize the independence of millions of older adults, according to senior-care industry and Congressional representatives. Co-sponsored by Representative Michael N. Castle, House Concurrent Resolution No. 59 passed by a vote of 387-0 on September 14, 2009. The resolution has now been introduced in the U.S. Senate.
With the senior population expected to grow to nearly 49 million in less than two years, we are grateful to Congress for taking this necessary first step to address the critical issue of caring for older adults, said Paul Hogan, Co-Founder and CEO of Home Instead Senior Care, and a founder of the National Private Duty Association (NPDA), one of three supporting organizations. The National Family Caregivers Association as well as the National Association for Home Care and Hospice also gave their endorsement.
Among other things, the resolution recognizes caregiving as a profession as well as supports the efforts of family caregivers by encouraging individuals to provide care for their senior loved ones. In addition, the measure calls for fostering a private home care industry that bolsters enterprise to provide accessible and affordable caregiving.
Seniors are one of our most precious resources, said Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska, who introduced the resolution. In order to take care of our seniors, we need a nation of caregivers, he said.
The time is right for this important focus on seniors, the family members who care for them as well as the profession of caregiving. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 8,000 people in the United States turn 60 years old every day.
In fact, the U.S. population age 65 and older is expected to more than double in the next 50 years, from the current 35.9 million to 86.7 million in 2050. Whats more, the 85+ population is projected to reach 9.6 million in 2030, and double again to 20.9 million in 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Hogan, who worked with the NPDA legislative committee and congressional representatives to craft the resolution, encourages similar action at the state level. Our goal is to inform and educate lawmakers that the private duty home care industry can be a part of the solution, offering an alternative to facilities, Hogan said. Seniors want to stay at home and many do with the help of family and professional caregivers.
During 2006, paid caregivers worked a total of 835 million hours and by 2025 that time investment is expected to increase to 4.35 billion hours. But the demand for caregivers could outpace the supply if action isnt taken soon. According to a Home Instead Senior Care study, When the Age Wave Hits: The State of Senior Caregiving in America, more than two million caregivers will be needed to keep pace with the demand in the decade ahead.
Considering the overwhelming needs our society will be facing, its imperative that we begin to address these issues now, and were thankful that Congress recognizes the urgent need to take action as well, Hogan said.
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring) that Congress:
1. Recognizes caregiving as a profession.
2. Supports the private home care industry and the efforts of family caregivers nationwide by encouraging individuals to provide care to family, friends and neighbors.
3. Encourages accessible and affordable care for seniors.
4. Reviews federal policies and supports current federal programs, which address the needs of seniors and their family caregivers; and
5. Encourages the Secretary of Health and Human Services to continue working to educate people in the United States on the impact of aging and the importance of knowing the options available to seniors when they need care to meet their personal needs.