The number of elderly and disabled adults who require assistance with day-to-day activities is expected to double over the next twenty-five years. As a result, direct care workers such as home care aides and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) will become essential to many families. Yet these workers tend to be low-paid, poorly trained, and receive little respect. Is such a workforce capable of addressing the needs of our aging population?
In a new book from RSF, Who Will Care for Us?, economist Paul Osterman (MIT) assesses the challenges facing the long-term care industry. As New York Times reporter Eduardo Porter notes in a recent article citing the book, “How to provide long-term care for a fast-aging population poses one of the more convoluted challenges of the American labor market.” Who Will Care for Us? presents an innovative policy agenda that reconceives direct care workers’ work roles to improve both the quality of their jobs and the quality of elder care. As the Baby Boom generation ages, Osterman demonstrates the importance of restructuring the long-term care industry and establishing a new relationship between direct care workers, patients, and the medical system.