In the 1960s, they were the face of the future. In the 2030s, they’ll be the face of the largest senior population in U.S. history.
Born roughly between 1946 and 1964, they’re the Baby Boomers. These days, millions of them are caring for an aging parent, whether helping with grocery shopping and paying bills or being day-to-day primary caregivers.
But according to a recent AARP report, the supply of family caregivers is unlikely to keep pace as boomers enter their retirement years. (https://tinyurl.com/kds3bxt)
Have you asked your boomer clients who be their caregivers during their elder years? Many will answer: “My kids, of course. But I will hate to be burden.”
But have they considered what they’d do if their children move to another state due to employment reasons or because they married someone who lives far away? What if their only child died? What if they never had children?
A numbers game
In 2010, there were roughly seven potential caregivers aged 45 to 64 for every person 80 and older, the AARP says. In 2030, that ratio will drop to 4 to 1; and in 2050 it is expected to be less than 3 to 1.
The explanation for the “care gap” can be found in well-documented trends, The New York Times says. (https://tinyurl.com/lwor745) Among those are smaller families — including more people who never had children — but also longer life spans; more divorce for the 50 and older set; and rising rates of disability.
Relying on family and friends may be unrealistic in the future. This looming gap, The Times says, contradicts widely held beliefs: 68 percent of Americans 40 and older are counting on families to provide long-term care when it’s needed, a study this year found.
Indeed, add in the prevalence of increasingly far-flung families, with boomers’ children pulled across the country for jobs and careers, leaving their aging parents behind. Without children around, the job falls to outside agencies — and those services don’t come cheap.
Boomers are more likely to have a disability late in life than previous generations, according to the Population Reference Bureau. (https://www.prb.org/resources/aging-u-s-baby-boomers-face-more-disability/) Boomers also are more likely to be obese, have high blood pressure or have diabetes than previous generations, says a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Managing such conditions are daily necessities. Family members can make sure medical and dietary needs are met — but only if they’re there on a daily basis.
Care giving is huge financial responsibility. If projections are correct, increasingly baby boomers will need to look outside the family for help.
Plan now, not later
As advisors, we should do more than simply ask boomer clients who they expect to act as caregivers in their senior years. We should help them navigate the often complex terrain of developing a long-term care plan. We can help them choose the best strategies to implement now so that they can afford the level of care they’ll likely need later.
We hope this information was useful to you and helps your clients and their families. If you have a specific case or a question, don’t hesitate to call our office.