The senior living industry could need 1.2 million new workers over the next 10 years, primarily in the job roles of nursing assistant, home health aide and personal care assistant, notes a new Argentum report, “Getting to 2025: A roadmap for the senior living industry.” The sector also should see surging demand for positions in dining services, housekeeping and health technicians.
The trend sends up a red flag to senior care executives, who may need to rethink their strategies in staff recruitment, retention and pay rates. Many of the job roles that will be in greatest demand by 2025 are currently among the least paid, according to the Hospital and Healthcare Compensation Service’s Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report 2014-2015. The national average pay for a dementia personal care aide is $12.10 per hour, while a food server often earns less than $11 per hour.
Turnover also is a huge challenge, with turnover rates for dining services, marketing and resident assistants near 35 percent, much higher than the average 28.7 percent across all job positions.
The Argentum report identifies five key focus areas for the next decade:
- Workforce management – Developing innovative recruiting, retention, training and pay strategies
- Quality care – Fostering person-centered care environments and high-quality care that supports pay-for-quality trends, including standards for certification.
- Consumer choice - Promoting strategies for financing long-term
- care services and supports, aging-in-place choices and public policies that support living choices for older adults.
- Operational excellence – Using innovation, technology and business/clinical analytics and other tools to provide better decision-making in the business of delivering quality senior care.
- Memory care – Providing quality programming and quality staff to fulfill best practices in the care of residents with dementia.
Regardless of the 10-year scope of the report’s projections, senior care organizations need to begin preparing now, the report concludes. The stats highlight the need for more attractive career paths, better pay incentives and fresh strategies for recruiting for the positions that will be most in demand.
The last of the baby boomers will turn 65 in 2029. By then, those over age 65 will comprise than 20 percent of the U.S. population.