Cost of elder care and burden on caregivers set to skyrocket as baby boomers age

By Colleen Van Horn, RN, BSN, PHN, CCM


cost of elder care

in the United States has been a concern for aging Americans and their families for years. But now, according to


, those costs and related complications are set to become even more burdensome due to the steadily rising number of aging baby boomers in need of medical care and lifestyle support. NPR reports that nearly 78 million baby boomers are in the process of retiring – and while these numbers will initially benefit the economy thanks to added recreation and vacation spending, they will ultimately lead to a massive increase in the number of sick or disabled seniors dependent on costly healthcare.

Statistically speaking, seniors over the age of 85 have a high risk of developing dementia or other disabilities that necessitate significant care; and based on recent U.S. Census projections, today’s 6 million Americans over the age of 85 will increase to nearly 19 million by 2050. Therefore, families are looking at a future in which the high costs of Alzheimer’s and dementia care (set to rise from a total of $200 billion to $1 trillion based on national data) will put a heavy strain on tax dollars and federal resources, and exert influence on decisions concerning senior living and end-of-life arrangements.

Faced with such prospects, many families will opt to cohabitate with their aging relatives. But even this option may require financial sacrifices, not to mention tight quarters and emotional strain. In addition, baby boomers’ children – members of the so-called “Gen X” – constitute a much smaller base, resulting in a disproportionate number of aging seniors relative to the number of grown children with the means to take them in.

Coping with eldercare costs and logistics with expert geriatric care management

Experts agree that the impending elder care crisis will force the private sector to do more to accommodate caregivers. Homebuilders will also need to proceed with multi-generational families in mind when designing residences. But these changes, as well as government restructuring to alleviate the burden on taxpayers, will take time: and for those who need help now, the best option may be professional guidance from a skilled geriatric care manager.


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