As the first of the nation's 78 million baby boomers begin reaching age 65 in 2011, they will face a health care workforce that is too small and woefully unprepared to meet their specific health needs.
Retooling for an Aging America calls for bold initiatives starting immediately to train all health care providers in the basics of geriatric care and to prepare family members and other informal caregivers, who currently receive little or no training in how to tend to their aging loved ones. The book also recommends that Medicare, Medicaid, and other health plans pay higher rates to boost recruitment and retention of geriatric specialists and care aides.
Educators and health professional groups can use Retooling for an Aging America to institute or increase formal education and training in geriatrics. Consumer groups can use the book to advocate for improving the care for older adults. Health care professional and occupational groups can use it to improve the quality of health care jobs.