America's Senior Population Reaches A 50 Million Strong Milestone

11/03/2016 04:53 pm ET | Updated Nov 07, 2016
seniorcare.com
The graying America

It happens this month in November when the 65+ group topples the milestone of 50 million strong.

What's your initial reaction to hearing the news alert?

The group working at Seniorcare.com used a direct interpolation of the U.S. Census 2015 monthly population estimates. The government agency calculates that America will see over 50 million people in the aged 65 and older some time during November 2016. Even past annual estimates published by the Census Bureau in 2005 illustrate breaking the threshold in the spring of 2017. Regardless of the estimation, it is obvious that the landmark has arrived.

A few explanations for the rise in the older adult population in the United States:

· Due to medical advances, we’re living longer. The average life expectancy at birth in 2010 was 10.5 years longer than what it was in 1950.

· 75,000,000 babies were born between 1946 and 1964. In 2011, the oldest of these turned 65 and will continue until 2026.

· 36,924,413 boomers will turn 65 over the next decade, or 10,000 each day for the next t 15 years, fueling the graying of America.

The surge will have a direct impact on Social Security and Medicare spending, while fewer citizens will be paying into the systems and presents many challenges that must be addressed.

Aging Experts who participate in the monthly Seniorcare.com Q&A offer several concerns that pertain to the skyrocketing numbers that carries the potential to create the needed changes.

Margo Rose, BodyAwareGrieving.com, “We need to look at end-of-life options more realistically. Part of our surge in longevity and the challenge of finding enough caregivers, is that we are using medical interventions to sustain very frail individuals beyond other points in history. Fear of medical lawsuits is driving these choices more than the concern for quality of life.”

Stephen D. Forman, Long-term Care Associates, LLC, “The long-term care professionals are not surprised by the Census numbers. We’ve seen them coming for decades. So here's the next one to watch: how the "caregiver support ratio" is falling precipitously between the peak of 7 caregivers per needy recipient in 2010 to just 3-per over the next 30 years.”

David Inns, GreatCall, Inc., “This milestone is likely to raise awareness across the country that the doubling of the 65+ population from 2000 to 2030 (that we are only halfway through now) is becoming a reality. It will have a huge economic impact on the United States. The country has not made much progress over the last decade preparing for the impact, and judging by the lack of policy discussion in this area during the election campaigns this fall, I think we can safely assume that we are not likely to make much progress any time soon. This milestone, and the increasing stress on the Medicare and Caregiver systems it represents, will hopefully be a wakeup call that we need to have a serious conversation as a country about how to handle the social and financial impact.”

Violet Swenson, LTC Global Agency, “The longer life spans present a potential retirement problem and longevity is an important issue that needs addressing. Without proper planning and purchasing a long term care insurance policy, more people may find themselves in a pinch during the retirement years. Also, more families may need to sacrifice time and resources to care for their elders.”

Samantha Stein, Association for Long-term Care Planning, “Anxious yet hopeful. You cannot deny that the number is substantial, and various industries have their work cut out for them. However, the long term care insurance industry is already adapting. Cost of care in the US is not cheap, and many are happy that they turned to LTCI for the comprehensive coverage necessary to safeguard their future.”

Betsie Sassen, Capitol Consulting, LLC, We are unprepared for the future. We have fewer people entering the professions of nursing and medicine. Add in the pressure on health care to reduce costs, the high prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease (1 in 9 people 65+), and one has the perfect storm. We have to teach and support people to age better earlier because the choices they are making matter. We also need to expand community programs such as Villages and home care to enable people to age in place as long as possible.

Admond Fong, Senior Providers Network, “My initial reaction is that not enough attention is made on elder care issues on the political front. Medicare and Social Security face insolvency in less than 20 years and our political leaders are not proactively doing anything to address this crisis. There's too much rhetoric and not enough action.”

Nancy Ruffner, NavigateNC, “As a Boomer I say we BOOM! Let’s continue: be positive, get into action! Use our voting and consumer power. Be the squeaky wheels, the constituents to which legislators and manufacturers and planners must listen. They built schools and innovated for us, and we’ve been marketed to since birth--supply and demand at its finest. Let’s keep changing the country!”

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