Graying Population Presents Challenges for People of All Ages

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 04 August 2011

The implications of increased longevity are far-reaching, affecting even the youngest members of society, says New Realities of an Older America: Challenges, Changes and Questions, a report recently issued by the Stanford Center of Longevity.

Baby boomers are aging as the population grows in number and diversity, according to the report. This graying alongside growth means families, communities, workplaces, and individuals of all ages will all feel the pinch, with “enormous economic, social and political implications.”

Though this may not come as a surprise (much like Tuesday’s post on a report addressing the financial insecurity experienced by many senior households today), it’s not enough to simply be aware of these seemingly obvious problems. Many of our country’s policies and practices were “designed for a more youthful population”, and it’s time to break that pattern.

Consider the ramifications of this key finding: “By the time the youngest baby boomers turn 65 in 2029, 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older. The percentage of 85-year-olds will grow even faster.”

Think about it: in just 18 years, 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older. And while 60 may be the new 40 in a world where living well into the 100s is more common than ever, this staggering statistic should not be viewed simply as a number. How many of those in the 65+ category will need long-term care? When will they retire? Who will provide the care they need, and in what setting (home care, assisted living, nursing homes)? How will they pay for it?

Read the full report here.


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