A new report from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, states that the rising number of baby boomers and their complex health issues will make elder care more difficult.
They address a number of issues which fall into three categories:
- Social. The number of older Americans will more than double by 2050, from 40 million to 83.7 million - which will be one-fifth of the entire American population. This means that a great many more caregivers, medical practitioners, nursing home facilities, and other components in the US healthcare system will be needed, and existing components put under increasing strain.
- Economic. The average cost of a private bed in a nursing home in 2010 was $229 a day, which amounts to over $84,000 a year—an amount which most seniors cannot afford for even one year. This means that more of these seniors will have to be cared for at home, often by unpaid family members or friends. Additionally, since baby boomers had fewer children and more divorces, there are fewer family members available to assist. In 2006, 43% of long-term nursing home care was being paid for by Medicaid, and that number will surely increase under this increase in older Americans—putting serious financial strains on the US economy as a whole.
- Individual. The looming problems on the individual level have to do with the fact that baby boomers are already showing higher rates of illness than prior generations, especially chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. Many of these are aggravated by obesity, which has risen in older Americans; 72% of older men and 67% of older women are either overweight or obese.
Clearly this report will be serving as a wake-up call for healthcare professionals and institutions, aging baby boomers, and their families. For more information on staffing your organization to meet this trend, contact us today.
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