Labor Crisis: A 20 Year Headache

If you are a senior living executive, either an Executive Director, VP of Operations, Dining Director, or Chief Financial Officer, you know your biggest challenge in 2021 is staffing.


We recently surveyed senior living executives, and their biggest pain point was labor shortage. Click here to check out the results.


U.S. job openings hit a record high of 9.2 million in August of 2021.1


There are approximately half as many available workers for every open job (1.4 available workers) across the country as there have been on average over the past 20 years (2.8) – and that number is still falling.2


This isn’t short term; senior living is projected to face a 20-year labor shortage.


Many people think that the problem is because of COVID-19, and now the Delta variant, but that was just icing on the cake.

Cupcake - Help Needed

The problem?

We are making fewer humans.


The working age population has stopped growing in comparison to the amount of job openings.


The number of Baby Boomers in the workforce is decreasing at a much faster rate than the working age population is increasing.


As the Boomers leave, so do the skills they’ve gained over many years.


By 2034, the population of people ages 65 and older will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.


One in five U.S. citizens will be a Senior.


There will be 95 million older adults but 80 million children.3


And by 2030, it’s anticipated that the labor force participation in the U.S. will decline by 2.2%.


Along with that, long-term care facilities are experiencing huge competition with nursing facilities that can offer higher wages, and to other industries around the country.


At the start of the pandemic, some senior living homes were able to raise salaries and wages after receiving federal and state COVID relief funds. But since that aid is no longer available, these facilities can’t keep up with the competition from what’s being offered elsewhere.4

Vaccination Mandate

In August, the Biden administration announced it’s required that nursing home staff must receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition for those facilities to receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funding.5


This is receiving a lot of pushback as many facilities can already foresee that this decision will lead to more staffing shortages due to concerns about the safety of the vaccine, even though cases and deaths plummeted following vaccination prioritization.

Empty Conference Room Charis - Short Staffed, Labor Crisis

Saving on Labor

So, what can senior living facilities do to save on labor?


Automation is one of the best solutions to solving your labor shortage.


Two industries that are quickly adopting automation are the medical industry and food service industry.


Health facilities are using robots to transport medical supplies and medications, which saves time and allows for humans to focus on other duties.


Automation in food service is evolving quickly. Due to the rise in minimum wage requirements and the costs of raw materials, technology is replacing some of the tasks that people would be doing otherwise. Like having self-serve kiosks where you place your order and pay for your food.6

POS Solution

A powerful tool for reducing labor and automating is a senior living Point of Sale system.


Our studies have shown that a typical deployment of the FullCount POS system in a community with 200 residents (as an example), will reduce labor by 348 hours per month (2.2 FTE's) compared to a community using a Non-Senior Living POS system.7


Even more powerful, labor hours will be cut by 460 hours per month for a community not using a POS system.


The reduction in labor usage for a senior living community drives down costs and makes operations easier to manage.


To learn more about how automation can help your community solve the labor shortage, click here to go to our Cost-Benefit Analysis tool.


You’ll get a custom calculation of the labor and money you can save using the FullCount senior living Point of Sale system.

  1. Romero, Laura. “Pandemic, labor shortages have left long-term care facilities competing for staff.” abcNEWS, 19 Aug. 2021,
  2. “The American Works Report: Quantifying the Nation’s Workforce Crisis.” S. Chamber of Commerce, 1 Jun 2021,
  3. Vespa, Jonathan, et al. Demographic Turning Points for the United States: Population Projectiosn for 2020 to 2060. U.S. Census Bureau, 2020,
  4. Romero,
  5. Romero,
  6. Matthews, Kayla. “6 Industries That Have Been Improved by Robotic Automation.” 19 Jul 2021,
  7. Fullcount internal analysis of anonymized data. Results may vary depending on community deployment of various technologies and training for residents and employees, but forecast results are commonly attainable.

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