Rough Water Ahead
The wave of aging boomers is now upon us
This is not a political piece. That is the disclaimer!
I do want to raise a rather challenging issue, however. It is not an unknown issue. A recent N.Y. Times front-page article (May 6, 2012) was entitled "When Illness Makes A Spouse A Stranger". It was a rather disturbing article on frontotemporal dementia.
One of the issues that keeps coming up again and again in these pieces concerns the growing disconnect between the realities of the aging of baby boomers, the rise in chronic illness issues, and the strain on our healthcare system. In the middle of all of this is the undeniable fact that the wave of aging boomers is now upon us.
It is not a fantasy. According to one government report I saw recently, as of last January 1 (2011), 100,000 people a day are turning 65.
The confluence of all of these issues begs the question of how and who will be paying for all the critical care that will be needed in the next several decades. Those of us who have lived out some of this with our own parents, know first hand the amount of out of pocket expenses that can be called for.
Have boomers saved enough for these contingencies? Have any of us really sat down and put down a plan for "what if?" What if we need this or that, not for our parents, but for us?
The economics of aging is being lived by many in our generation and, given the economic realities at present, we can ask if our children will be in a position to "afford" to take care of us. These are very thorny, but very real questions.
Sadly, no one seems to be concentrating on developing the answers.
I throw this issue out to us as I would love to know what creative ways you have begun to develop to deal with our collective futures in this area. Thank you for your consideration of this issue and I look forward to seeing some responses.
Rabbi Richard F Address, D.Min
Published May 9, 2012