The U.S. census bureau estimates that 10,000 Americans are turning 65 each day. This will eventually ramp up to 77 million Baby Boomers, those born between January 1, 1946 and December 31, 1964.
There is a lot written on the topic. For this article, the focus is on the impact on nursing homes and what we might do about it.
The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 40% of those over 65 will need to stay in a nursing at some point. Of those, 10% will actually live in a nursing home for 5 years on average. Wow!
This equates to 3,080,000 of the 77,000,000 million Baby Boomers who will need to be served extensively in a long-term care setting.
Take into consideration that the average annual expense to live in a nursing home is rapidly approaching $100,000 or more per year, and the straight expense just for the 3 million above over 5 years equals an amazing $1,540,000,000,000! This is over 1.5 trillion dollars!
A couple of potential solutions:
1) Prevention. Keep people healthy through aggressive and consistent exercise programs; increase wellness visits with health professionals to just as often as people are suppose to visit the dentist; establish cooking courses and food sharing opportunities that keep people healthy longer.
2) Home Care via community resources. Think of this as Meals-on-Wheels delivered by seasoned health professionals. If people are in their own homes and neighborhoods, there is a good chance their spirits will stay high as long as they can achieve meaningful social interaction on a regular basis.
Already, the health crisis gap of the haves and have nots is widening. Turning our heads or wishing the issue away will not make it so. Aggressive action is needed today to make a difference as 400 new potential long-term nursing home residents are turning 65 each day!