From personal experience I can tell you that aging baby boomers are going to transform America by creating a senior housing shortage and health care crisis of such epic proportions that it will affect everyone regardless of age.
Here is just a small sample of what you can expect, and it is not pretty.
My mother resides in South Florida, which is flooded with senior citizens of her generation born in the 1920s who, because of advances in medicine and drugs, are living longer.
She is almost 87 and due to a stroke currently lives in a nursing home. Recently she was rushed to the hospital with some internal bleeding.
In the emergency room I was appalled to see corridors literally lined with senior citizens lying on gurneys who, like my mother, were waiting to be seen or had been seen, and now were crowding the halls waiting to be admitted into the hospital.
After arriving by ambulance at 7 a.m., my mother spent the next 12 hours waiting in the emergency room. Due to a hospital-room shortage, it was 7 p.m. before a room was finally available.
What surprised me was when I asked the nurse if this was a typical day and she said, “Yes.” Then I asked her if we could go to another nearby hospital. She said, “They are all like this.”
During the 12 hours when I was rushing in and out, I noticed that the large, brightly painted pediatrics emergency area was completely empty the entire time, except for one little boy with his arm in a sling who was promptly treated.
So you know where I am going with this.
A tsunami of old people is coming ashore — not just in Florida, but everywhere — and our nation is woefully unprepared.
If we were starting to prepare, you would be seeing new nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals dedicated to elders, adult day-care centers, and senior walk-in clinics popping up by the hundreds or even thousands across the nation.
Obviously this is not happening, so instead prepare yourself for a crisis of over 70 million boomer seniors living into their 80s, 90s and even 100s without the facilities or the skilled manpower available to house or care for us.
And just like Dychtwald’s high school classes, baby boomers will be forced to age “in shifts.”
Having seen the future up close and personal with our remaining three 1920s-era parents (my 1922-born father-in-law is 90 and my 1923-born mother-in-law is 89), here is my plan for aging.
At a ripe old age, immediately upon crossing the last item off my “bucket list,” I will die peacefully at home, in my sleep.
Now, my end of life plan sounds nearly perfect until my husband interrupts asking, “How do you make God laugh?” The answer is, “Tell Him your plans.”
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