Who will care for aging baby boomers? This was the question posed to an expert panel at an event that explored the links between immigration policy and long-term care policy. The online event was hosted by the Center on Children and Families of the Brookings Institute. It brought together leading researchers to present their findings on the role of immigration in caregiving, and to discuss the country’s caregiving needs, and policies to help address them.
Highlights of the discussion included:
- The link between increased immigration and the increased support available for aging in place.
- Economic benefits to family caregivers from larger labor pools supported by increased immigration.
- Improved quality of care that results from a larger labor force and increased immigrant labor.
Anne Tumlinson, CEO of ATI Advisory and a Nexus Fellow, was on hand to provide her analysis of the policy landscape. She pointed to the severe economic impacts experienced by families and family caregivers that results from the lack of a national long-term care system in the United States.
Other challenges raised during the forum include the persistently low wages in the caregiving industry, enormous gaps in Medicare coverage for needed services for older adults, confusing variation by state of the types of services covered by Medicaid, and the difficulties that arise in addressing changing labor needs caused by inflexibility in employment-based channels for legal migration.
Possible solutions proposed included:
- Addressing the inflexibility in the employment-based channels for legal immigration, to help address shortages and changing caregiving labor needs.
- Creation of a national long-term care system to serve American families equitably and prevent financial hardships for families caring for loved ones.
- Reallocating resources to address the persistent low wages in the caregiving industry, and to help create incentives for caregivers to remain in the field.
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