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The Future of Aging

I recently read "Aging Forward" written Mr. and Mrs. Dunkelman. They are current residents of New York City but lived here in Buffalo for several years while Mr. Dunkelman was creating the award winning senior care facility called The Weinberg campus. This book discusses the future care and societal expectations as the boomer generation grows older. They discuss how our government systems won't be able to withstand this new population, Mr. Dunkelman's process behind starting and developing the Weinberg campus, and how technology is going to be the future of older adult care. I highly recommend this read for anyone who works in the healthcare field and truthfully anyone who will be aging or caring for an aging loved one in the near future.

Some startling facts the Dunklemans provide in their book is the significant shift in the ratio of older adults per adolescent within our population in just a few years. In 2030, it is estimated every 1 in 38 people will be 85 years or older. In 2050, that ratio is expected to be 1 in every 20 people. To think help put that in perspective, in 2050 it is estimated there will be the same amount of 8 year old's as there are 85 year old's in the U.S. population. These facts were very eye-opening for me as someone in the healthcare field but also as a daughter who will be responsible for her parent's future care. With this substantial shift within the age ratio of our population, who is going to be able to take care of our older adults? There will be a limited number of adults who can work within the healthcare world or within homes as aides/caregivers. This will encourage grouping of care, decreasing quality of care and general lack of accessibility of care due to limited resources and workers.

This is historical. The U.S. population has NEVER experienced this amount of people at this age. Insurance has never needed to cover this amount of medications, procedures, tests, surgeries, hospitalizations etc. Our research about this population is limited because we have never once experienced this in history. If that isn't mind blowing, I don't know what is.

Mr. Dunkelman also take the time to discuss the history and development of government assisted programs for older adult care through the years. He unfortunately also explains the inability of these programs to manage this historical number of older adults within our population. Social security, Medicare, Medicaid etc., will not have enough resources or funding. As we all know the government does not move too quickly. We must prepare ourselves and our family for this expected insecurity.

The best advice I can provide, is to prepare now. Educate your family on desires for future care, begin modifying your home now, take care of your health the best you can and don't wait until a significant change forces you to make these adjustments. Home and Happy is always here to help even if you don't require any immediate care. We can always complete an in-home evaluation to make recommendations for furniture placement or equipment. We also have great relationships with other organizations with similar missions within our community. Remember everything you do today, helps prepare you for your future.

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