Baby Boomers have drastically changed every aspect of US industry since essentially the day they were born, and it appears they will continue to do so. Because so many of them will be retiring, aging, and requiring long-term care in the next few years, the country will have to adjust every aspect of the aging industry to accommodate them. Some states are already feeling their surge.
“How are we going to step up and make sure this generation is taken care of?”
There’s already a nursing home bed shortage and a caregiver shortage. There are approximately 37 billion hours of unpaid caregiving occurring in the US every year. Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, meaning they are currently aged 55 to 73 currently. In ten years’ time most of them will be retired, and some will be in their eighties. The current systems in place will not be able to handle their “silver tsunami” as some experts call it.
Maine has the oldest population in the country and is already feeling the effects of a large baby boomer population. Twenty percent of the population in Maine, or 1/5, is older than 65 making them a “super aged” state. In seven years, 15 more states will be considered “super aged” as well. Already Maine is seeing assisted living and nursing homes filled to capacity with waiting lists getting longer every day. Qualified caretakers are a hot commodity and facilities keep raising wages – and prices – in order to obtain a trained staff. Families are frustrated and elderly people are not getting the care they need.
As of 2016 there were approximately 46 million people in the US age 65 and older. By 2030 the number of people aged 65 and older requiring a nursing home is expected to be 2.3 million. By 2050 the number of people needing long-term care is estimated to be 15 million. These numbers are staggering and startling.
How are we going to step up and make sure this generation is taken care of? Education and preventative measures of an aging population could be beneficial. Knowing how to manage diabetes or prevent heart disease is important. Technology could be of some use with monitoring systems, gadgets to make everyday life easier, and potentially even robots. An obvious step would be educating and training a whole new population of caregivers.
What will your family do to assure everyone is taken care of? For now, the best step is to simply have a plan. Talk to a long-term care insurance expert about your family’s options and resources and rest easier knowing you have a strategy for your future.