Research has shown the boomers who will need long term care want to stay in their own homes. They don't want to be shipped off to some institution. But the problem will be finding the people to provide the care for them at home. In 2010 AARP determined that there were 7 potential caregivers age 45-64 for every person over 80. By 2030 when the first wave of baby boomers turn 85, the pool of potential caregivers will decline sharply to 4 to 1.
The daughter or daughter in law that you traditionally relied on to take care of mom or dad just can't do it anymore. She is working full time as as well as taking care of her own family.
Boomers who don't have a family member to take care of them will have to seek home care aides who work independently or through a home care agency if they want to stay home. But these people are generally underpaid, not respected and aren't rewarded for outstanding performance.
But now the high tech industry is stepping in to provide a better solution. Seth Sternberg, with the help of Marc Andreessen, Apple stores creator Ron Johnson, former Sen. Bob Kerrey, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppleman, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin and a long, long list of notable Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors has created a firm called "Honor".
Honor will create an online marketplace. Caregivers will be able to list their qualifications, skills, hours they're able to work and distances they're willing travel. Seniors will specify the type of help they need, the hours they want and important personal details -- that they only speak Mandarin, or that they have cats, or that they live in a multi-story unit. Honor will match caregivers and seniors accordingly, with final approval of the match in the hands of the seniors and their families.
Honor will also give seniors a custom-built, easy-to-use touchscreen appliance where they will be able to update caregivers on any changes in their needs or condition, so the caregivers will be better prepared when they walk in the door. The devices will also be used to record what services seniors received and for how long, and to allow them to rate the quality of care. Authorized relatives will have access to the information, so they'll be able to monitor the situation.
Uber was able to find thousands of people who were willing to be part time drivers. Honor expects to have the same success recruiting the right people to provide home care services and pay them a reasonable wage. Let's face it, taking care of elderly, incapacitated people is not an easy job. Honor has brought in Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, a respected former labor organizer from the South Bay and CEO of an anti-poverty organization to begin recruiting workers in the San Francisco area. We will keep an eye on this program to see how it develops.