The growing caregiving gapThe pool of family and friends to care for Hawaii Baby Boomers as they age into their 80s will be less than half as deep as it is today, according to a new report from AARP.  The report predicts the ratio of potential family caregivers to elders needing care will plummet from today’s six caregivers for each person over age 80 to fewer than three caregivers per elderly person in 2030.

The Aging of the Baby Boom and the Growing Care Gap” from the AARP Public Policy Institute also anticipates that the dearth of family caregivers projected for 2030 to 2050 will intensify the emotional, physical and financial costs borne by future caregiving family members and friends.

“About half of older Hawaii residents believe they will be able to rely on their families to meet their needs when they need long-term care,” said AARP Hawaii State President Gerry Silva. “But this confidence is likely to erode when it collides with the dramatically shrinking availability of family caregivers in the future.”

As the number of Hawaii residents over the age of 80 increases in the next 20 years, the number of people in the primary caregiving years will remain flat, the report states.  Meanwhile, in 2050, there will be nearly three times as many people age 80 and older in Hawaii as there are today.  As a result, by 2050, the caregiver support ratio which was 6.1 in 2010 when Boomers were in their peak caregiving years, is projected to drop to 2.1 percent when the boomers will have reached their eighties.  According to the report, in just 13 years, as the Baby Boomers age into their 80’s, the decline in caregiver support will shift from a slow decline to a free fall.

The new caregiver report calculates the availability of caregivers by dividing the number of people in the most common caregiving age range (those ages 45-64) by the number of older people most at risk of needing long term services and supports (those ages 80+).  The former group reflects the demographics of today’s average caregivers, the latter is the population likely to have some kind of disability and need help with daily activities.

AARP is a membership organization for people age 50 and older with 148,000 members in Hawaii.  We champion access to affordable, quality health care for all generations, provide the tools needed to save for retirement, and serve as a reliable information source on issues critical to older Americans.