The baby-boom generation has caused significant shifts in American demographic history. The whole generation is estimated at about 76 million, and this large chunk of the population has generated profound changes in society, as they moved through the various life stages. When they were young and productive, the baby-boomers created huge economic growth for the country. Now, after a lifetime of being productive, they are retiring at a rate of 10,000 people per day.
This profound change in demographics is poised to make us reconsider how we take care of seniors and how we provide the basic services for them. The demand for care-related services for seniors is set to explode during the next decade. Increased demand will put huge stress on current providers, and there may be not enough care providers or even enough people to handle the demand for 55 plus communities in PA.
The statistics are worrying, to say the least:
- the 80+ cohort is projected to increase by 80 percent by 2030; meanwhile, the main caregiver demographic (the people ages 45 to 64) will increase by 2030 by only 1 percent;
- in 2010, there were almost seven potential caregivers for every high-risk senior; meanwhile, by 2050, there will only be three potential caregivers for every high-risk senior;
The entire sector will suffer from staff shortages. The problem is difficult to solve because it is a simple demographic reality – there are too many seniors needing care and not enough professional caregivers. Virtually all Douglasville 55 communities will be affected by this problem. There are also other issues that are common among aging baby-boomers. For instance, one in three baby boomers is currently unmarried or childless, meaning that they will not have peer support in the future. What's more, the future doesn't look bright – a study has shown that the percentage of frail elderly who are also childless will rise by 18 percent by 2030. This phenomenon is currently known as “elder orphanhood” and is expected to become a real problem for 55 plus communities in PA.
The sector is also facing other issues. Within the professional sphere, professional caregivers do not earn a lot of money, making the profession unattractive for many younger people. The only solution is to raise their income, but this comes at a cost for the seniors and the health insurance providers. The prices are expected to rise in the future to cover these costs and attract new staff. Unfortunately, these high costs may create additional problems – many seniors will find this service simply too expensive and will not be able to pay for any type of professional help from Douglasville 55 communities.
The good news
Although the future doesn't look rosy for the sector, there is some good news. For instance, data suggests that baby boomers may age or live a little differently. The current trends point to a delay in the need for care. The amazing advances in health care have pushed the “real old age” into later decades. Better medical treatments mean we can take care of ourselves for longer, and we seldomly need personal caregivers. Medical advances are expected to postpone and shorten the baby boom care crisis, but we don't know by how much yet.
New data shows that the trend is already visible. For example, skilled nursing facilities were in very high demand just a few years ago, but the number of these facilities has remained steady at about 15,000 for the past ten years. By 2023, this number is expected to go down by 20 percent.
Seniors are enjoying the benefits of modern healthcare and will live longer and better. They also have more residential options available to them. They can choose an independent or assisted 55 plus communities in PA or can remain home but under professional care.
Baby boomers are creating changes in the entire sector. Here are some of the most important changes we expect to see in the home care and assisted living sectors:
- memory care – this type of care is going through a reinvention process; it's designed to care for neurologically impaired seniors, who need constant care and prevention;
- multi-generational housing is on the rise – families are adapting their homes to welcome seniors; older generations can live with younger families, helping them during difficult periods; seniors can get the required care, but also retain their independence;
- senior housing will be common in downtown areas, in order to enable mobility and social connection, but without the common transportation issues;
- co-housing will become a reality – this concept is borrowed from the commune concept; a small group of seniors can live in an independent home together, share housekeeping duties, share meals and get the required medical assistance from others;
- technology will increasingly support seniors' independence and improve communication with the caregiver; although personal care robots are far-fetched and utopic, at least for now, technology can revolutionize how seniors are cared for; smart home computer systems, apps, and other small devices can keep track of medications and vital signs;
- more senior-friendly neighborhoods – active retirees are the main target for senior-friendly neighborhoods and Douglasville 55 communities; they often choose to live and work close to commercial districts or to the city center; community planners are also increasingly becoming aware of seniors' needs and plan for them; senior housing will pop up in downtown hubs, but will also be built-in specialized neighborhoods;
- the nursing home model will continue its decline – the trend is visible for some time – there's a visible move away from the concept of senior housing as a synonym with nursing homes; independent living and memory care will replace obsolete nursing homes; the reasons are multiple – both financial, as the costs of running nursing homes are large, and psychological, as many seniors tend to avoid this type of long term care.
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