Home Health Leads Senior Care Sector in Worker Demand, Report Finds

McKnight’s Home Care | By Diane Eastabrook 

The home health workforce is projected to grow a whopping 46% by 2040, representing the largest increase in the senior care sector. That’s according to a new report released Wednesday by Argentum, a trade association representing senior living facilities.
“The baby boomers are aging and will put a strain on our nation’s ability to provide senior care, supports and service,” Argentum researchers wrote in the report. “And, while our senior population grows, the American workforce is not keeping pace. We are facing a significant worker shortage across the economy generally but within senior care, in particular.”
The report said employment in the home health industry will reach 2.2 million by 2040, adding approximately 692,000 new jobs to the 1.5 million home health workers in 2021. Argentum also estimated home health will need to fill an additional 4.3 million positions as workers exit the industry or move to other occupations over the next two decades.
The report said demand will be strongest for home health and personal care aides, with 3.4 million workers needed for those jobs by 2040. Nursing assistants and registered nurses will also be in high demand filling 330,200 and 310,200 positions, respectively. The states that will see the strongest demand for home health workers by the end of this decade include Texas (415,800), New York (391,000) and California (156,000). 
The report reflects the changing demographics of an aging nation where 10,000 people are turning 65 each day. It also reflects the trend of seniors opting to age at home, rather than in a facility. Employment in senior living facilities is expected to grow just under 33% by 2040, while employment in skilled nursing is expected to decrease by 6.5%. 
Some of the states facing the most critical shortage of direct care workers are taking action. In January, New York took its first step in developing a master plan for aging which includes proposals for public-private partnerships to address long-term care initiatives. California, Texas, Colorado, Massachusetts and Minnesota have adopted similar plans.