Where in the country is most in need of elder care?
If you look at the latest census data from 2016, it seems pretty clear. A snapshot by county:
- Sumter County, Florida: median age 67.1 years (up 17.9 years since 2016)
- Catron County, New Mexico: 60.5 years (+12.7 years)
- Charlotte County, Florida: 58.8 year (+4.5 years)
- Alcona County, Michigan: 58.1 years (+9.1 years)
Logic says the greatest need for eldercare benefits would be in locations at the top of that list. But that only tells you part of the story (where physical care benefits will be required). What about the people caring for those aging residents — the sons, daughters, and other relatives who might be living far away?
Assessing The Need for Eldercare
In fact, adult children all over the country are caring for parents, challenged to provide assistance from however far away they may be. One employee in Texas told us about the upheaval of reaching her father after an accident at his home. “Dad was going to need my help for the foreseeable future,” she told us. “But I couldn’t just stop working.”
She’s not alone. The latest data shows that more than 65-million people are dedicating an average of 20 hours a week to such unpaid caregiving. More than two-thirds say it’s affecting their jobs. While the average American adult may live just miles from a childhood home, many are trying to manage from afar. More pointedly for organizations is who is most likely to live the longest-distance away. Education, according to studies, confers mobility. That means the higher up the ladder you go, the more likely you are to find people who are far from home.
It makes assistance exceptionally valuable, and the reason back-up care networks are increasingly popular. One executive told us the only reason she can work is because she knows she can leverage her employer’s back-up care for her grandmother who lives a plane ride away. The Texas employee told us that elder care she got from the job not only subsidized her father’s care – it also found it for her. Otherwise, she said, “I had no idea what I was going to do.”
So Census data alone isn’t enough to adequately assess the need.
In the current reality, no matter where mom and dad are living, the answer to, “Where in the country is most in need of elder care?”…is pretty much, everywhere.