There is a huge wave that is about to hit the U.S.—it is a gigantic demographic bubble called the “Baby Boomers”. All of us born between 1946 and 1964 are retiring and reaching the age where we will need additional resources to be cared for, protected, and assisted to be healthy. This is already causing a tremendous strain on the Government. Medicare and Social Security are already the largest portion of the Federal budget that is already overdrawn, causing the massive spending deficits that our elected officials are unable to cope with. The care provided to low income seniors is going to be in jeopardy as the federal deficit and debt grows, and our ability to pay for those services diminishes over the next few decades.
Here are some of the statistics about the aging boomers:
- The number of people over 65 in the U.S. is over 39 million and is 13% of the population.
- 10,000 people are turning 65 every day in the United States.
- 30% of the people over 65 are going to visit the ER or spend time in a hospital every year.
- 80% of the people over 65 have at least one chronic illness. 50% have at least two.
- The fastest growing age group is 85+
- 50% of the population in the United States will be over 50 by the year 2017.
- Due to advances in medicine, and some improvement in lifestyle (less smoking, better nutrition, and lower per capita consumption of alcohol...) people over 65 are living longer and have better health then their parents.
- They have better education than their parents, and more disposable income
- The current life expectancy in the U.S. has risen to 78 years old, and according to the DMV, California has over 300 licensed, competent drivers over 100 years old.
- 77% of the nation’s wealth is controlled by seniors, 92.6% are on Social Security, and they spend more than 1 Trillion dollars a year on goods and services.
Here are some of the steps you can take to help yourself or your aging parents:
Get Long Term Care insurance. There are many providers and several different levels of coverage you can purchase. The monthly premium can be a bitter pill to swallow each month, but every senior I have met that has the coverage later in life, says it was the most valuable expense they ever purchased.
Veteran’s Home Care Benefits; most veterans don’t realize that they may have financial aid available to help them pay for in home care. There is a little known program called the “Aid and Attendance” program. The VA is very difficult to deal with, and often downright misinformative. It’s best to seek an independent advisor for help with this one. We suggest you search for someone in your area who has expertise in Veteran’s Home Care.
Reverse mortgages: the rules have changed significantly recently in favor of seniors. You no longer have to sign over the title to your house, you can take out a monthly withdrawal to cover the expenses needed for care, you are only charged for the amount you take out each month rather than withdrawing the equity in one lump sum. Best of all, the government now requires that you must meet with a counselor from an independent government-approved housing counseling agency approved by HUD before being approved for this type of financing. This prevents financial senior abuse and predatory lending practices.
*Thanks to Pati Rader, CSA for her contributions to this article. http://www.patirader.com/