Approximately 75 million people born between the years 1946 and 1964 make up the baby boomer generation, and they may be approaching retirement in the near future. With the aging of baby boomers comes an enormous impact on long-term care for the elderly. The growth in senior living status will significantly change how healthcare is provided to this large percentage of the population. With a decrease in the number of boomer-age care providers, there will be an inevitable added pressure on the already stressed healthcare industry.
According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, almost 12 million people needed long-term care by the end of 2020. The rising concern is not just about healthcare facilities but about the cost of Medicaid and financial preparedness of the baby boomer generation. There are five ways in which baby boomers are changing the long-term care industry, and familiarity will help you and your loved ones prepare for the coming years.
1. Increased life span
The first basic concern of the baby boomer population is the ratio of seniors to caregivers. Baby boomers tend to live longer. This directly impacts the long-term care requirements and availability for the aging population. Advancement in medical technologies has led to success in prolonged aging, however their need for health care and support is directly correlated and significantly high in comparison. Many current caregivers fall into the baby boomer generation, which creates a demand for next generation caregivers as experience the mental and physical effects of aging, especially during a global pandemic
2. Independent living
Most baby boomers wish to live independently since they have also been working independently. After retirement, seniors typically do not want to depend on loved ones for support. Their desire for independence ultimately drives them to care facilities. Most seniors would look for healthcare centers and residential care centers which will significantly impact the long-term care industry. Sometimes, baby boomers also wish to stay at home and require in-home care and assistance.
3. Lack of insurance
Most baby boomers have the capability to buy insurance, but they are not buying enough required for long-term care. The services offered by health caregivers are not usually included in comprehensive health care plans. Unless a proper insurance plan is acquired by the baby boomers, there can be a huge financial impact on the health industry as well as future accessibility.
4. Increasing government aid options
Not all baby boomers are eligible for Medicaid and Medicare, but they can seek assistance from several government aided options, such as the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program, which is exclusively available for federal employees. Seniors may also be able to seek guidance from long-term care ombudsmen to understand medical care options that would be suitable for them.
5. Diverse health care options
Baby boomers will impact the long-term care industry as they create more demand and opportunities for out-of-home care facilities as well and in-home care services. An increase of qualified caregiving and health professionals is inevitable in the coming years as Generation X inherits more responsibility in planning and caring for their loved ones.