Can “Recently Retired Baby Boomers” solve the caregiver shortage?

by | Aug 16, 2019

With unemployment at 50-year record lows and demand for caregivers at an all time high, many home care owners and managers are wondering if retired baby boomers are the answer.

Baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, make up nearly 30% of the US population.  As of 2019, the youngest baby boomers are 55 years old and the oldest baby boomers are 73.

A recent AARP study revealed “nearly half of those who are retired or nearing the traditional retirement stage of life still have no retirement savings or pension, and will need to rely on Social Security”.

According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, the typical account for a worker nearing retirement is only $42,000. And 55 percent of current workers don’t have any employment-based savings at all.

Baby boomers in this situation have limited options: delay retirement or work part-time in retirement.

Baby boomers are the ideal caregiver. They have a lifetime of work experience under their belts, and tend to be more productive with a stronger work ethic. Additionally, they have a firm familiarity with caregiving. They’ve had experience raising kids, as well as are more likely to care for an elderly parent. These baby boomers don’t want to work at a full time job, but do want a job with flexible work hours.

A Caregiver’s Story

“Over the last 10 years the cost of living has increased substantially,” says Peggy, a 68-year old retired teacher turned caregiver in Seattle, Washington. “It costs $1500/month to rent even the most basic apartment in the Seattle area.  That would eat up my entire social security check.”

“As a part-time live-in caregiver my job is to help my client, a disabled adult, with ADLs from 6 to 9 in the morning and evening, and to be there during the night “just in case”. It’s great because I get paid for things I’d do anyway on my own, like grocery shopping, cooking breakfast and dinner, cleaning the house, etc. I’m not paying for rent and I don’t have to drive much.  It’s a really good situation for where I’m at in life.”

Recruiting the Recently Retired

Older adults make great caregivers.  Organizations like Seniors Helping Seniors is a nationwide home care franchise built around the idea of “matching more active seniors with less active seniors”. SHS pairs seniors with a person who can relate to their challenges and who respects them for all they are doing to age gracefully in their home.

This peer relationship is one in which both people feel valued and appreciated, which is the key to recruiting the recently retired.

Here are a few benefits you should highlight when recruiting baby boomers.

  • It can be done part-time and on a relatively flexible schedule.
  • They’ll be making a difference in other people’s lives!
  • It can be fun! Part of caregiving is also companionship, and what’s better than being paid to have a companion?

TIP: “Recently Retired Baby Boomers” are very likely to have caregiving experience but may be unfamiliar with “professional caregiving”.  Classes like CareAcademey’s “What does it mean to be a professional caregiver” can be used in your recruiting process to educate and inspire recently retired baby boomers into caregiving.

Recently retired baby boomers make for dedicated and hard working employees. They have a lifetime of experience with caregiving, have a strong work commitment, and are eager to work! If your home care agency is looking to recruit caregivers, that’s definitely an area of opportunity you should be looking into.

For more resources on recruiting and retaining caregivers, check out:

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