By 2050, the number of Americans ages 65 or older will nearly double, growing from about 48 million to 88 million. Those who need the most assistance, the population of people over 85, is on track to triple, from 6.2 million to nearly over 18 million over the same time period.
Many of these older Americans, along with younger adults with disabilities, need long-term services and supports. They may need assistance with personal care, such as dressing, bathing, and preparing meals, or with other types of daily activity such as paying bills, cleaning the house, or getting to medical appointments. When this support cannot be provided by a family member or friend, it is often provided by direct care workers—home health aides, personal care aides, or nursing assistants.