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Report on Aging: Make Aging and Caregiving a Priority

Published: 2011-05-06 - Updated: 2022-04-07
Author: Volunteers of America | Contact: VolunteersofAmerica.org
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Seniors News Publications

Synopsis: How seniors and their caregivers are faring during the current American economic downturn. There is too great a cost on the family level and on the national economic level as a whole. This is no longer an issue that can be pushed along to future Congresses. Baby boomers began turning 65 this year, and the nation is not ready for their future care needs or costs. As our report states, preparation must occur on more than just the personal level. Local, state and federal governments must begin to make changes now to help current caregivers and future retirees so that the impending wave of 78 million baby boomers does not wipe out the finances of future generations.

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Main Digest

This year, America's baby boomers - 78 million people in all - begin turning 65 and this growing demographic wave threatens to cripple our financial and health care systems and significantly burden future generations.

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To better understand the implications of this looming crisis, Volunteers of America commissioned a nationwide survey with Lake Research and American Viewpoint into how the elderly and their caregivers are faring during the economic downturn. The survey found that the majority of Americans significantly underestimate the number of savings they will need to finance their future long-term care needs, and that caregivers are sacrificing their own financial futures to help care for older loved ones.

A new white paper on the survey findings, titled "Boomer Bust 2011: Still Unprepared and Unaware," has now been released.

Volunteers of America, one of the nation's largest providers of affordable senior housing and services to the elderly, identified four primary challenge areas faced by aging women and their caretakers: finances, desire for independence, workplace flexibility and lack of preparation.

"We need to address this looming potential catastrophe," said Volunteers of America National President Mike King. "This will be the largest senior population in U.S. history and will almost double the prior numbers of seniors."

King continued:

"As our report states, preparation must occur on more than just the personal level. Local, state and federal governments must begin to make changes now to help current caregivers and future retirees so that the impending wave of 78 million baby boomers does not wipe out the finances of future generations."

Survey respondents wanted to see a way for individuals to access Medicaid services without being forced to spend personal assets all the way down to poverty levels to qualify. This could be done through an expansion of state public/private partnerships that shield a set amount of personal funds through the purchase of approved long-term care insurance policies.

The report suggests that the unmet needs of caregivers should become a priority for policymakers.

"There is too great a cost on the family level and on the national economic level as a whole. This is no longer an issue that can be pushed along to future Congresses. Baby boomers began turning 65 this year, and the nation is not ready for their future care needs or costs."

Other survey findings included in the newly released white paper:

40% of survey respondents are worried about saving enough for their retirement, but they are not clear on the true costs and there is a lack of excess income to put toward future goals.

In general, things have not changed for women regarding serving as the primary hands-on caregiver for a parent, in-law, spouse or other loved one who needed care. In addition, most women surveyed who are not currently caregivers expect they will be providing care at some time in the future.

Survey respondents supported policies that would allow seniors to remain in their homes for as long as possible and receive care at home and community-based settings.

Respondents also felt that caregivers should be paid by Medicare and Medicaid for the services they provide to allow them to continue saving and meet their current financial and future retirements.

Reference Source(s):

Report on Aging: Make Aging and Caregiving a Priority | Volunteers of America (VolunteersofAmerica.org). Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

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Cite This Page (APA): Volunteers of America. (2011, May 6). Report on Aging: Make Aging and Caregiving a Priority. Disabled World. Retrieved January 29, 2023 from www.disabled-world.com/news/seniors/aging-report.php

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