All baby boomers can cash in their senior citizen benefits soon because, by 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 years old or older.
This change in the U.S. population is referred to as the “gray tsunami” as about 10,000 Americans enter the senior age demographic a day. As we approach the incoming tidal wave of our aging population, there’s one question we’re forced to face:
Is our healthcare system prepared to meet the long-term needs of aging baby boomers?
The good news is the incoming generation of seniors is living longer. Still, research suggests baby boomers are experiencing higher rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic diseases than previous generations of the same age.
There will be a growing number of seniors who need long-term support and care, and the burden rests not only on their families but on a healthcare system that researchers fear may not be able to keep up.
With a preexisting shortage of healthcare workers trained to take care of the elderly, rising healthcare costs, and the demand for social and public policies that support the needs of senior citizens, we need to take an active role now to help baby boomers age well and prepare the healthcare industry for the incoming change.
To lessen what professionals are referring to as the “2030 Problem,” the healthcare system, our government, and baby boomers themselves should shift their focus towards:
1. Increasing healthcare hiring. As baby boomers retire and the demand for caregivers rises, it’s time to actively search for replacements for those leaving the industry and train newcomers.
2. Utilizing technology to detect and reduce diseases. Medical interventions stand to transform the stages of chronic illness and reduce disabilities down the line.
3. Encourage healthy aging. Promoting holistic lifestyle changes and improvements has a significant impact on health, keeping aging boomers healthier and happier.
The “gray tsunami” and “2030 Problem” may paint a gloomy picture for the future of America’s population, but we still have time to get ahead of the wave and do what’s needed to support our parents, peers, and loved ones.