Beatrice Egger is a 91 year old retired school teacher. Ever since her husband broke his hip, she lives in constant worry about his safety. Will he be alright in the shower? When trying to dress, will he injure himself? Will his next fall prove to be fatal? Concerns like these are affecting the 43 million unpaid caregivers in America, such as Beatrice. In addition, the baby boomer generation is aging. That means this number is estimated to spike. Baby boomers make up the majority of unpaid family caregivers. Therefore, we need to ensure care for this generation as well.

Without family caregivers, health and social systems within the aging society would be in total chaos. This Time article clearly outlines this issue. It states that employed caregivers simply could not keep up with these ever growing demands. Alarmingly, a 2017 survey revealed that nearly half of unpaid caregivers suffered from depression. At the same time, just under half of them failed to care for themselves.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked caregivers as one of the fastest growing occupations. Within the next ten years, 1.2 million new jobs are anticipated in this field. Unfortunately, these are jobs that many Americans do not want. This leads to increasingly high turnover rates for paid caregivers. So who will fill these much needed positions?

There is sadly no clear cut answer. And situations like Beatrice’s are far too common. You might be among the two percent of Americans who have invested in long term care insurance. But otherwise, chances are you will need to pay out of pocket for care.

As the baby boomer generation ages, we are facing a serious demographic danger. Financial, as well as physical and emotional health tolls, are inevitable. Much needs to be done now. We need to ensure aging baby boomers get the care they want, need, and deserve.