Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Monday, April 28, 2008

California and US Not Prepared for Aging Population

According to a new report from the Institute for Medicine, "Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce," neither California nor the nation are ready to deal with the social and health care needs of the aging population. Some key findings in the report include:

The percentage of Californians over 65 is expected to jump from 10 percent of the state population in 2000 to 17.5 percent in 2030. The baby boom generation begins to turn 65 in 2011.

There is a shortage in specialists in geriatrics, not just among physicians but also social workers, rehab therapists, speech therapists and nurses. Altogether, there are 7,100 geriatricians (physicians) in the United States - one per every 2,500 older Americans - and less than 1 percent of registered nurses are certified in geriatrics.

Turnover among nurse aides, who often care for the elderly, averages 71 percent annually, and up to 90 percent of home health aides leave their low wage jobs within the first two years. The national average is $8.50 (per hour) for personal or home-care aides.

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