As our state continues to lose population, our population continues to get older. This is putting a strain on the state's resources that take care of the seniors who've lived in the mountain state for decades.
This could be an opportunity to bring new jobs to WV. Nurses, doctors and administrators are all needed to care for our elders, and are well paying fields. While it would take an initial investment, these types of jobs could keep educated young West Virginians in state, as well as bringing in people from out of state. In turn this would bring a new tax base and new customers for WV Businesses.
From WV Public Broadcasting
As we grow old, many of us will find we need help with everyday tasks, like cooking, cleaning and bathing.
In West Virginia, there are few programs that can help, and those that do serve the state’s aging population are overburdened -- with waitlists that can stretch months or years -- or require applicants to qualify for Medicaid.
This leaves the older population dependent on younger family members to fill caregiving roles. Meanwhile, to find work, the state’s young people are leaving the state and thus moving away from their elders, causing those over age 65 to be the fastest-growing segment of West Virginia’s population.
A recent report by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources found this dynamic is creating a critical gap in services needed by the elderly.
“The infrastructure of services provided to the elderly will be a critical need far into the future as the population of West Virginia continues to age, resulting in increasing costs of state and federal programs for the elderly,” wrote the authors.
Read More in WV Public Broadcasting.