Baby boomers, growing older themselves, still have to care for elderly parents.
Understandably, the 450 million baby boomers in the world want to age in place and stay independent for as long as possible. That’s why contractors are booked solid retrofitting homes, urban planners are debating how best to adapt whole communities, and home healthcare product makers are profiting wildly. By 2015, the home healthcare market is expected to generate $372 billion globally with a steady supply of “independence tools,” incontinence and mobility products, and home healthcare supplies.
Considering that nearly three in four Americans aged 65 or older will require long-term care--a service that is far from cheap--it's not surprising that experts expect that many boomers will face a long-term-care crisis. But statisticians warn us not to concern ourselves only with boomer healthcare but also with the amount of elder care boomers provide for their living parents; by 2050, the world will be populated by almost 400 million people aged 80 or older, so that the majority of middle-aged adults will have living parents. A U.S. survey found that more than 20 percent of boomers already supply unpaid care to someone over 65 “because of a condition related to aging,” and many female boomers are leaving the workforce to provide adult caregiving, to the tune of nearly $143,000 in lost wages on average.
Yet even as we fret over bank accounts peppered with so many minuses, we should remember that the pluses of living longer deserve equal attention.
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