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Caring for an Aging Richmond

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An estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day in the U.S.

When Boomers get together, conversations often turn to caring for their aging parents, their own health, and then the puzzling question: “Who will care for us?”

A University of Virginia study suggests that in Greater Richmond alone, the population of elders between ages 80 and 84 will grow by 114% between 2020-2040. The same large number of Baby Boomers who turn 65 this year will turn 80 in 2036. This approaching wave in the number of seniors, many managing chronic health conditions and disabilities, will soon crash into our health care system.

2017 Community Survey

The 2017 Federation Community Survey found that 75% of respondents 65 or older planned on remaining in their own home as they age. 69% of them believed there would be a network for family and friends to help them. But, there’s a math problem. Nearly one-in-five Americans are already providing unpaid care to a family member or friend today. The fast-growing number of older adults needing help will require even more caregivers tomorrow.

According to AARP, by 2040 only one-in-three elders will be able to depend on family and friends as caregivers. This sharp decline in family caregivers is expected to continue until at least 2050.

As the numbers of seniors grows and family caregivers shrinks, we are also facing a national shortage of professional in-home care aides. The shortage isn’t new – experts have been running up red flags for 20 years – but the storm of the pandemic has made it much worse. Regular readers of the “New York Times “may have seen their coverage: “For Older Adults, Home Care Has Become Harder to Find.”

New Year

At the turn of this New Year, JFS is looking forward to the next 173 years of Transforming Lives and Strengthening our Community. Elders will need our help, and we will be here to provide it! America is experiencing a great reckoning around work: according to a recent study, more than a third of U.S. workers changed or lost jobs since the onset of the pandemic. Many are looking for positions with flexible hours, meaningful work, and better work-life balance.

Two visionary donors are helping JFS train a new generation of Personal Care Aides for a career path in a high-demand field. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of in-home care aides is projected to grow by 41% between 2016-2026 – much faster than any other occupation.) With their generous support, we are creating the next version of our popular PCA training class for the pandemic present as well as the future.

The new course will be primarily online, allowing participants to learn safely at home and on their own time, with review sessions and in-person skills training in small groups. There is no cost to students for tuition or supplies, and JFS will also provide small stipends to help with childcare or transportation. All class participants who complete the course and pass the Virginia PCA certification tests are guaranteed a job at JFS.

JFS is committed to helping our Personal Care Aides reach their healthcare career goals for the future.  Once a PCA has worked at JFS for a certain number of hours, JFS can help them pursue their Certified Nursing Assistant certification.

A CNA can pursue many opportunities across the medical field with family-sustaining wages and benefits. We are determined to address all of these overlapping concerns – more seniors with complex needs and fewer family members available to help them – by throwing open the doors to PCA training for anyone with the heart to help seniors live safely, comfortably, and with dignity in their own homes.

Our goal is to host four training classes this year; if you know someone who might be interested, please call Duan Butler at (804) 282-5644 ext. 284 to learn more!

If you would like to know more about JFS, reach out to Morgan Goad at:

 mgoad@jfsrichmond.org.

Jewish Family Services is supported, in part, by a generous annual contribution and programming grants to support the JFS Jewish Care Line and the planned JFS/Beth Sholom Hospice from the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond.

 

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