Aging experts say seniors need to help with labor shortage

Maine approaches aging problems with care.

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine statistically has the oldest population in the country. Here are more numbers to prove it. According to Maine’s Area Agencies on Aging, there were 12,500 babies born in the state last year, while 24,000 people turned age 65.
   At the annual Summit on Aging in Augusta, advocates for Maine seniors said one of the biggest challenges for the Maine is not the number of older people, but the lack of enough young people to take their places in the workforce. That means there is not enough people to fill the health care and other jobs an aging population needs most. Jessica Maurer, Executive Director of the Maine agencies, said on Wednesday the immediate crisis is a serious shortage of home care workers.
 "So every day in Maine," said Maurer, "there are literally thousands of hours of approved care through MaineCare that go un-staffed because we don’t have enough workers not because we don’t have enough money to pay them."
   Maurer said one answer senior groups are working on is convincing some older people to not retire, or go back to work helping with those kinds of health care needs.  She said at current rates, immigration into Maine isn’t going to fill those gaps, and younger seniors may need to go to work helping the old.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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