Thursday, June 17th was the national observation of Nurse Assistant Day, which kicked-off a week of honoring all nursing assistants around the country.
Nursing assistants serve under many different titles in our local homes, hospitals, clinics, schools, and assisted-living facilities. These individuals are the devoted people who in many cases are the primary caretakers for our parents and grandparents as they age and are unable to take care of themselves. For many families, they are also the people who help take care of a disabled child while the parents work.
These individuals – because of our dependence on them – become extended members of the families that they assist. In addition to their helping hand, these men and women often empathize and show emotional support to the patients and families they serve.
According to the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, by the year 2016 the demand for nursing assistants will increase by an estimated 1 million. Also, the Florida Economic Development Council recently released the latest information on Polk County demographics, which shows that the populace aging 65 and older grew by 83 percent from 2000 to 2010. This growth was larger by 3 percent than any other age group, and the overall populace is projected to grow 89 percent by the year 2020.
This means that our local workforce will need many more caregivers in the next ten years. We appreciate these professionals for the quality care that they provide while recognizing that they are a growing, essential part of our community.