I put the title in quotes, because some of this post was prompted from an article by that name in The Sacramento Bee. The article starts with an infographic:
The information presented is not particularly new, but it is always striking, when we stop and think about it. The ratio of working adults to elders continues to decline and shows no sign of reversing.
When we confront this statistic, we tend to think in terms of programs like Medicare or Social Security, which are dependent on the continue high inflow of funds from the working generation to provide benefits to the elders in the population. That is a very serious matter, in its own right.
However, there is more to the impact than government programs.
For many seniors who need assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) – caregiving – as well as emotional stimulation and support, the shrinking size of families is a very serious problem. On the caregiving side, because Medicare, Blue Cross, Kaiser, Humana, … do not help defray the cost of non-clinical home care (which is definitely health care) , the cost of home care is borne by the seniors and their families. Spreading the financial cost – and the family caregiving, as well – over a much smaller number of people than in prior generations, makes the rest of the SacBee’s article’s title (“Who will support our seniors?”) a critical and very complex question.
Companies like our own, Support For Home In-Home Care, are ready to help with the caregiving, including social and emotional support, but the financial cost issues remain very real – and getting more serious, as the size of the “support system” shrinks.
Any thoughts – including solutions – are welcome.
Best wishes. Bert