The “Baby Boomer” generation was born between 1946 and the early 1960s – and just as their arrival changed the course of public policy, so will their impending retirement shape the future of senior care in the United States. In “The 2030 Problem: Caring for Aging Baby Boomers,” health science researchers looked into the potential policy shifts that could come with this generational change, ultimately determining that there will be 4 different “shocks” to the current healthcare system as Boomers retire.
How Baby Boomers Have Shaped Our Economy
Ever since the end of World War II, the Baby Boomers have been shaping and re-defining the American economy in brand new terms. More than 75 million people fit into this generational category, and in the late 1990s, the U.S. job participation rate reached record heights, as the Boomers finally became a dominant force in the workplace.
Born in a time of exceptional prosperity and security, this generation was one of the first to experience all the benefits of modernization – including better education, access to life-saving medicines, and much higher life expectancy rates. According to the CDC, the average life expectancy for 65-year-olds hit a record high in 2014, with most Boomers now expecting to live until the age of 84.3. With the youngest Baby Boomers turning 50 in the year 2014, we’ve officially entered the time period where Boomers will be retiring from work, and our public priorities will need to shift once again.
Longer Lifespans, Better Long-Term Care
After looking at the economic impact of Boomer retirement, the authors of the study discuss 4 predicted shocks to our economy, which include the following costs: long-term care, uncovered prescription drugs, private insurance, and medical care that falls outside of Medicare or private insurance. Of all these costs, long-term care is considered to be the most important and defining issue, with expected lifetime costs projected at nearly $44,000 per person.
While this may sound like a difficult challenge to overcome, the truth is that these “shocks” will provide a necessary catalyst for changing our current healthcare model. Long-term care has not always been covered by Medicare in the past, but Medicare Advantage recently expanded its benefits to include more in-home care options for seniors. Additionally, many public policy advocates and organizations have been pushing for better legislation on in-home care, to help fill in the gaps left by Medicare.
The Need for More Affordable Care Options
More and more senior Americans – including Baby Boomers – are choosing to stay at home as they age, which means that the need for effective caregiving services will only continue to grow over time. At Homewatch CareGivers®, we can provide an answer to the need for long-term care services, with a proven, sustainable model for in-home caregiving. We put our clients at the heart of everything we do, and with compassionate care, we hope to change the way our nation’s seniors age in place.
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