By the Numbers

I was wondering if you have any elder care statistics you can share with us.
Daryl in Michigan, 49

I often cite the fact that the Baby Boomer generation had a massive impact on American culture, the educational system, and dynamics in the workplace; and it’s now expanding the need for elder care services and programs far beyond previous parameters. The numbers really are staggering. The first of 78 million Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are turning 60 years old in 2006. According to a recent Gallup poll, 71% of today's Boomers (age 41-60) have at least one living parent. Many of these same Boomers have spent recent years caring for that parent, and they will soon require elder care themselves.

The U. S. Bureau of the Census estimates that from 1990 to 2020 the population age 65-74 will increase by 75%. From 2000 to 2050 the number of Americans over 65 years old is expected to more than double from 34 million to 79 million, while the over-84 population is expected to quadruple from 4 million to 18 million.

A 2004 study done for AARP and The National Alliance for Caregiving found that the typical caregiver is a 46-year-old woman who spends 18 hours a week tending to her caregiving responsibilities. This responsibility lasts 4.5 years on average. AARP reports that 24% of Baby Boomers expect their parents or in-laws to move in with them before they pass away.

Life expectancy in the U.S. in 1900 was 47 years of age. Today, male life expectancy is 74.8 years and female life expectancy is 80.6 years. In 2000, there were 35 million citizens age 65+; by 2010 there will be 40 million, and by 2020, there will be 54 million, totaling 1 in 6 Americans.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, a record $147 billion was spent on elder care services and products in 2001, and that number continues to rise. USA Today recently reported that the cost for Social Security and medical care for those 65+ in the next 30 years could reach a mind-boggling $43 trillion.

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