How can the U.S. address the long-term care needs of its aging population?
How We Are Meeting the Challenge
- Studying problems in the current long-term care system, such as fragmentation, high costs, and inefficiency
- Assessing the physical and mental health toll of caregiving and identifying solutions
- Exploring ways to integrate informal caregiving into the formal health care system
More than 12 million Americans need the help of caregivers for daily tasks, such as eating, bathing, or managing medications. By 2050, people needing such help will more than double in number, and the United States is woefully unprepared.
The U.S. caregiving system is fragmented, costly, and sometimes insufficient. Most efforts to date have been done in isolation: some focusing on family members who provide care; some on the formal caregiving workforce; and some on one population in need of care. Promising approaches to getting effective and affordable care to people in the setting they desire are being developed and tested. But most have not been well integrated into the broader health care and social systems, reducing their potential impact.
To address long-term care and caregiving issues, RAND created the Caregiving Initiative. The initiative has begun:
- studying problems in the current system, such as fragmentation, high costs, and inefficiency
- evaluating solutions for effectiveness, cost, and feasibility
- developing simulation models to project future care needs and evaluate the effects of interventions and policy solutions
- testing solutions using a network of senior centers, nursing homes, and local communities