The Costs of Aging on Boomers

boomers aging

The New Social Justice Agenda

The statistics are staggering. We are facing a crises of major proportions and no one seems to be able to organize a response. I am speaking about what may be the number one family issue for the next few decades: the economics of aging.

Every Baby Boomer now alive is at least 50 years of age. One person is turning 65 every 8 seconds, some 10, 000 per day according to the the U.S. census. The average cost of an assisted living room is $3,000 per month. Home health aids can seriously cut in to a family’s finances.

By 2050, we expect that on-fifth of the U.S. population will be over 65, the  majority of them , according to experts, needing some type of long term care. And, to make things even a little more problematic, we are being told by financial experts that few Boomers have enough money saved for their own retirement, let alone enough to finance a medical emergency.

One of the other components of this scenario is the anticipated rise on the number of cases of Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association is telling us that within the next 30 years (as Boomers age out, the number of cases of Alzheimer’s will grow from the current 5 million to aout 15 million.

According to Virginia Biggar of UsAGainstAlzheimer’s, the costs to care of these individuals in 2013 was computed to be $215 Billion. This is just the economic costs. What of the emotional and psycho-spiritual costs. The tip of an iceberg that will restructure how we age and how our society deals with it.

The impact on a family from all of these realities (and many of the readers of this site have or are living this) can be devastating. What makes this even more serious is that many of these costs associated with caregiving are not confined to weeks or months. They can stretch to years.

What can we do? We can begin by understanding that this issue is real and that it is not going away and that it will impact not only Boomers, but are children’s generation as well. We can attempt to have family conversations and develop a comprehensive family care-plan.

We can keep watch on the political process and, by getting involved with organizations, make sure that the foundation of care support from government is not eroded under the guise of “budget reforms”. We can get to know who in our community can be advocates for us if we need that help: clergy, social services agencies, Medicare and Medicaid specialists and patient advocates.

All of these resources are available now and they will continue to grow in numbers. We can make use of governmental website resources to help measure the safety and reliability of nursing homes and facilities.

This is the social justice issue for our generation. It is an issue that we all need to embrace.

Shalom,

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About Richard Address

Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min is the founder and editor of www.jewishsacredaging.com. He is the author of “Seekers of Meaning: Baby Boomers, Judaism and the Pursuit of Healthy Aging”. Rabbi Address developed the programs in family issues for the North American Reform Jewish movement and currently serves as a rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, N.J. He hosts the weekly “Boomer Generation Radio” in Philadelphia

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