How the Baby Boomers will SWAMP Long Term Care
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Baby Boomer Generation & the Current State of Long Term Care
Purpose of This Report
1. Long-term Care
Definition of Long-Term Care
2. The Baby Boomers
Potential Impact on Long-Term Care
Limited Financial Resources
Critical Staffing Shortage
Will the Baby Boom Generation Swamp
Long Term Care?
The Baby Boom Generation looms over the long-term care industry like a tidal wave. Every year for the next twenty years, 3 million of the 75 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 will hit retirement age (Barr, 2014). By 2029, when the last round of "boomers" retires, the number of Americans 65 or older will climb to more than 71 million (Colby & Ortman, 2014). In other words, we are looking at a tidal wave of more than 30 million additional retirees in the next fifteen years.
Currently, long-term care service providers serve approximately 8 million people (Harris-Kojetin, Sengupta, Park-Lee, &Valverde, 2013). The number of people using nursing facilities, alternative residential care places, or home care services, however, is projected to exceed 27 million by 2050 (Evashwick, Frates & Fahey, 2008).
The long-term care industry is simply not preparing to serve this sudden spike in the elderly population. So far, the growth in the number of senior citizen boomers has been incremental, and its impact on health care has been overshadowed by federal reform and budget battles. "This is the most powerful force operating in our health system right now, this generational change," says Jeff Goldsmith, president of Health Futures Inc., Charlottesville, Va. "But, people aren't paying much attention" (Barr, 2014).
The purpose of this report is to alert the long-term care industry to the baby boom tidal wave cresting on our shores. By comparing the current capacity and projected growth of long-term care facilities, staffing, and finance with the future care requirements of retiring baby boomers, we hope to demonstrate the dramatic shortages that threaten a complete collapse of service.
Like the answer to global warming or the continued exclusive use of fossil fuels to supply the world's energy needs, only creative innovation will enable the long-term care industry to survive this population tidal wave. Simply expanding the current system with its limitations and inadequacies will not work (Applebaum & Kunkel, 1991).
Brief Excerpt from Tidal Wave