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Caring for older adults is a growing concern in the US, where the population is aging and healthcare costs for seniors are rising.

There are several choices available to those seeking long-term care for older adults, according to the Administration on Aging:

  • At-home care with an eldercare professional
  • At-home care from family and friends
  • Nursing homes
  • Assisted living
  • Board and care homes
  • Continuing care retirement communities
  • In-home care (with a nurse, aide, or other provider)
  • Community services (adult day care centers, transportation services, etc.)

How many senior citizens will there be in 2030?

According to the Census Bureau, the number of Americans ages 65 or older is projected to increase from 58 million (17% of the population) in 2022 to 73 million (21% of the population) by 2030. As the population ages, more people enroll in Social Security and Medicare programs. The federal government also projects increases in the number of Americans with certain diseases or impairments, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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How many nursing homes are there?

There were 15,600 nursing home facilities in the US in 2018, according to the CDC. Those facilities had a combined total of approximately 1.7 million licensed beds. In recent years, revenues for nursing homes have increased due to the aging population.

How many people work in nursing homes?

In September 2023, 1.4 million people were working in nursing homes in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).[1] That number declined for more than two years after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In February 2020, nursing homes employed more than 1.6 million people. The number fell to a low of 1.3 million in April 2022 before rising again.

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Who works in nursing homes?

Nursing homes in the US employ a range of caregivers. These include registered nurses, licensed practical or vocational nurses, social workers, physical and speech therapists, pharmacists, dietary or nutritional staff, aides, activities staff, and administrative staff.

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How many home health aides are there?

Around 3.5 million people work as home health and personal care aides in the US — providing care to people of all ages — according to the BLS. Of these workers, 878,310 are employed in home healthcare services, 237,370 in continuing care and assisted living communities, and 47,860 in skilled nursing care facilities.

How much money do people working in eldercare make?

Home health and personal care aides made an average annual salary of $30,930 as of May 2022, the BLS reports.

Managers in nursing homes made an average of $103,040 in 2022. Healthcare practitioners, who make up more than a quarter of all employees in nursing homes, averaged $68,010 per year. Healthcare support workers — 39% of all nursing home employees — averaged $36,040.

How many people provided unpaid care for older adults?

The BLS reports that about 37 million people in the US, or 14% of the population, provided unpaid eldercare for the two-year period between 2021 and 2022. Over a quarter of them provide unpaid eldercare on any given day, spending an average of 3.6 hours per day of care.

Will elder care occupations keep up with the growth of America’s aging population?

Occupations related to elder care are some of the fastest-growing occupations in the US, according to the BLS.

The number of nurse practitioners is expected to grow 44.5% from 2022 to 2032 — the second-highest growth projection among all occupations. Several other related occupations are among the fastest-growing, including: medical and health services managers (28.4%), physician assistants (26.5%), physical therapist assistants (26.1%), occupational therapy assistants (24.0%), home health and personal care aides (21.7%), and personal care and service workers (20.5%).

Between 2020 to 2030, the Census Bureau anticipates a 30.5% increase in the population ages 65 and older.

The federal government requires nursing homes to provide “enough staff to safely care for residents,” but it doesn’t specify a ratio or standard that constitutes sufficient staffing.

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September 2023 data is preliminary.