With the rapidly aging populations of many countries, the elderly care industry is a fast-growing one. However, many societies are facing difficulties in fulfilling this growing demand. In China, there is one caregiver for every 3 elderly persons in need of care. There is a severe shortage of caregivers in Japan – the country with the world’s oldest population – and the responsibility often falls on a spouse or a child. By 2020, an estimated 117 million Americans will be in need of assistance, yet the number of unpaid caregivers is expected to reach only 45 million.
Unlike many jobs in the corporate world, caregiving isn’t glamorized. The industry isn’t targeted towards young people in a way that jobs in the finance and STEM sectors are. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, the average age of caregivers in the US is 49.2 years old and 34% of caregivers are 65+ years old. While it is rare to see the youth join the profession, it is much needed as they can bring fresh energy and new perspectives to the industry.
To understand caregiving through the eyes of a young woman (see our post on dementia through the eyes of a child here), we spoke with Jasmine Wiberg a 21-year-old full-time undergraduate at the University of Gävle. She worked as a home care provider during her summer vacations in the Kramfors municipality of Sweden. In our conversation with Jasmine, we asked about her work as a caregiver, the challenges of the job and her motivation to keep going.