71.5 Million Strong: Baby Boomers and Beyond ... Who Will Take Care of Us
In response to the "graying of America" phenomena, Senior Smart announced today the inception of www.assisted-living-info.org, an online tool that provides the perfect match between families and seniors actively looking for assisted living and quality assisted living facilities nationwide.
The senior population, in this country and around the world, is growing and changing. For example, it is expected that in the next 40 years the senior population in this country will grow by 147 percent.
They preceded Generation "X": the baby boomers, those born in the U.S. between 1946 and 1964, are approaching retirement age. The oldest baby boomers turned 60 in 2006, and when the trend peaks in 2030, the number of people over age 65 will soar to 71.5 million - one in every five Americans.
Obviously not all of these seniors will require assisted living care, but are we ready to address the multitude of services needed to provide for this group of consumers adequately"This country is ill-prepared to handle the tens of thousands of senior citizens in need of assisted living or home hospice care," states Mary Jo Leste, an 18-year industry veteran and Chief Executive Officer of Senior Smart, Inc., a marketing company specializing in assisted living and home hospice referrals.
A recent study by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) and funded by the MetLife Foundation reports the following:
- Health Care - In one-third of the U.S. communities surveyed, older adults do not have access to a range of needed preventive health care services such as health education, community-based health screenings, and counseling about prescription drug programs.
- Nutrition - Eighty percent of U.S. communities have programs providing home-delivered meals for older adults, but only 25 percent provide nutrition education for seniors.
- Exercise & Wellness - More than one-third of communities do not have fitness programs for older adults, although 86 percent report having biking or walking trails.
- Transportation - Many communities are not addressing the mobility needs of an aging population. For example, only 56 percent reported having "dial a ride" or door-to-door transportation services, and only 40 percent reported having road signage that meets the needs of older drivers.
- Public Safety/Emergency Services - More than 33 percent of communities do not have a system to locate older adults who become ill or wander due to Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. And 70 percent do not have prevention programs for elder abuse and neglect.
- Housing - Only half of the communities reported having home modification programs helping older adults adapt existing homes for physical limitations. The study says this is important because a vast majority of older adults prefer to remain in their own homes as they age.
- Taxation/Finance - More than a third of communities do not provide tax relief for older adults living on limited incomes.
- Workforce Development - Over 40 percent of U.S. communities do not offer formal job training and retraining programs to help older adults remain in the workforce, however 45 percent reported that discounts were provided at local colleges and universities for older adults who are interested in taking classes.
- Financial Planning and Retirement
- Aging/End of Life/Human Services - Many communities do not offer a single point of entry for information and access to all aging services, even though it is expected that aging baby boomers will demand it.