Beware of the Eldercare Cliff
When the Greatest Generation returned from fighting WWII, they began making
babies at an unprecedented rate. This generation of babies became known as the
Baby Boomers, who, as they grew up, began to set new records of their own. They
fought for civil rights, defied stereotypes, and changed the face of the American
workforce. Now, once again, they’re set to make history with yet another record:
doubling the number of 65-and-over Americans.
You may be wondering why you should care, and here’s why: The costs associated
with nursing homes and assisted-care facilities are prohibitive to many Americans.
As a result, millions of Americans – 39.8 million over a three-month period in
2011, to be exact – have provided unpaid care to an elderly person.
Considering that half the people living beyond the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s
disease, one begins to see that there is definitely a cliff coming. The simple fact is
that there’s going to be more elderly people than paid caregivers; as a result, the
number of unpaid caregivers is expected to rise to around 100 million Americans
Wait, it gets worse. The ratio of people ages 16 to 64 versus people over 65 was
5.1:1 in 2000. By 2050 that ratio is expected to be 2.9:1. This means that while
there were 5.1 people per senior citizen in the year 2000 that were able to provide
care AND work to pay the taxes supporting public programs, there will only be 2.9
people to do so in 2050.
And you think the economy is bad now.
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