Between 2005 and 2030, the number of adults ages 65 and older will almost double—from 37 million to more than 70 million—bringing accelerating demands on the U.S. health care system. Older Americans use considerably more health care services than do younger Americans, and their health care needs are often complex. According to a new report from the Institute of Medicine, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, our current health care system is ill-equipped to deal with this pending crisis. After exploring the demographics, health status, and long-term needs of this population, and the challenges in caring for it, this report makes recommendations in three essential areas: enhancing the competence of all individuals--including professionals, direct-care workers, and informal caregivers--involved in the delivery of geriatric care; increasing the recruitment and retention of geriatric specialists and caregivers; and redesigning models of care and broadening provider and patient roles to achieve greater flexibility.
This report was supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund, among others.
Institute of Medicine (IOM). 2008. Retooling for an Aging America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.