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Crisis in Aging: Disability and Alzheimer's: Lack of Caregivers Threatens South Florida Seniors' Ability to Stay Home
Date:9/29/2009

ease. In addition, the PSA 11 counties of Monroe and Dade report more than 9 percent of the elderly population with two or more disabilities such as limited mobility and ability to provide self-care. Meanwhile, Broward County reported between 8 and 9 percent of seniors with two or more disabilities.

Bidwell, owner of Home Instead Senior Care a senior care franchise in Florida, said he sees the faces behind the statistics, and more of them each day in his own service areas of Naples and Fort Myers. "Industry numbers consistently indicate that the majority of seniors want to remain in their homes, but the crisis occurs when they no longer can," he said. "These seniors often need help with the activities of daily living such as meal preparation, light housekeeping and medication reminders just to survive."

The state could soon be overwhelmed by these needs and an exploding demographic. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts the number of seniors over the age of 65 in Florida to grow by 37 percent between 2005 and 2015, or roughly one million seniors.1 With more of those seniors expected to remain at home, the projected growth in the occupation of personal and home care aides also is on the upswing.

The personal and home care aides job category includes professionals helping the elderly with physical, mental health, or cognitive disabilities who live in their own homes or in residential care facilities instead of in health facilities. In Florida, this category is expected to increase 43 percent between 2006 and 2016; from 10,640 to 15,200, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.2 That job category is forecast to be the second fastest growing in the nation.

But with workforce shortages also projected, who will fill these jobs to provide care for seniors who want
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