There is a lot of discussion around shifting demographics. Most of those conversations include a laundry list of statistics broken up by a few graphs and charts. But what is the bottom line and why should you care? Read on to find out.
Let’s start at the beginning
It is important to identify the macro-trends that are taking place in our society and understand how they relate to one another so that we can develop resources and programs to support the aging population both today and in the future.
- Baby Boomers are getting older
After World War II, there was a massive baby boom. The population ballooned between 1946 and 1964 when approximately 70 million children were born. The Baby Boomers, now between the ages of 58 and 76, are reaching retirement and many of them are starting to feel the implications of aging.
- Life expectancy is on the rise
100 years ago, you could expect to live until you were 47. Today, plan to stick around until 79! With advances in science and technology, medicine is more powerful than ever. The medical community is able to cure many diseases, perform life-saving surgeries, and has made major strides in educating the public about preventative healthcare.
- Family structures are changing
For so many reasons, our definition of “family” is evolving. An increase in divorce rates, more open-mindedness regarding blended families, and individuals choosing to have fewer children or a child-free lifestyle, which is resulting in a steadily declining birth rate. Thanks to globalization trends and increasingly accessible technology, families are more frequently separated by distance.
- Seniors need significant support with health and wellness
From a health perspective, older Americans are disproportionately affected by chronic conditions - 80% of Medicare beneficiaries have one and nearly 70% have two or more.
The Bottom Line
At the simplest level, there are an unprecedented number of seniors - with more healthcare needs than ever - with fewer and further family members to provide support and caregiving resources that they need.
How do the shifting demographic trends affect us?
This combination of factors has an impact on every single person on earth. From the economy, to housing and infrastructure, and workforce shortages to healthcare, these evolving trends have ripple effects that reach much further than senior house and senior care.
Ultimately, we’re all getting older every day. We all have loved ones that are older adults, caregivers, or both. In one way or another, this new reality either will affect you in the future... or it already is.