Path Toward Economic Resilience for Family Caregivers: Mitigating Household Deprivation and the Health Care Talent Shortage at the Same Time

By: Tapas Kundu with M. Simon, B, Gunia, E. Martin, C.  Foucar, D.  Ragas, L. Emanuel.

Published in:

The Gerontologist vol. 53 (5), 861-873.


Rising costs and a workforce talent shortage are two of the health care industry’s most pressing challenges. In particular, serious illnesses often impose significant costs on individuals and their families, which can place families at an increased risk for multigenerational economic deprivation or even an illness–poverty trap. At the same time, family caregivers often acquire a wide variety of health care skills that neither these caregivers nor the health care industry typically use. As these skills are marketable and could be paired with many existing medical certifications, this article describes a possible “path toward economic resilience” (PER) through a program whereby family caregivers could find meaningful employment using their new skills. The proposed program would identify ideal program candidates, assess and supplement their competencies, and connect them to the health care industry. We provide a set of practical steps and recommended tools for implementation, discuss pilot data on the program’s appeal and feasibility, and raise several considerations for program development and future research. Our analysis suggests that this PER program could appeal to family caregivers and the health care industry alike, possibly helping to address two of our health care system’s most pressing challenges with one solution.

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Published June 26, 2014 2:18 PM - Last modified June 26, 2014 2:18 PM