It is a serious concern among baby boomers who do not have any children: who will manage their long-term care? Even for those who are well prepared to pay for long-term care needs, who will actually provide the care and services they will require?
The Sacramento Bee takes a look at this topic in an article this week addressing the growing need for care options for aging baby boomers. “So far, aging experts don’t have good answers,” the Sac Bee reports.
For boomers who never had kids, who will come over any time, day or night, if the plumbing is broken or a suspicious sound outside frightens them? Who will advocate for them if they’re hospitalized, or if their capacities diminish later in life? Who will call them four or five times a week – as [one baby boomer] does her own elderly parents in Southern California – just to say hi?
Whose love and attention, in short, will help keep them anchored in the world?
So far, aging experts don’t have good answers.
“These are issues that we’ll have to grapple with as a country,” said Lynn Feinberg, AARP policy expert on caregiving.
In a real way, facing old age alone is a women’s issue. Well ahead of the aging of the baby boom generation, U.S. census figures show that almost 11 million Americans have already lost their spouses – and two-thirds of them are women who outlived husbands requiring months or years of caregiving before death.
Lacking a spouse, they count on their kids and grandkids to help. After all, family caregiving has traditionally been the heart of long-term care, with more than 65 million Americans today providing care to ill or aging relatives.
As Feinberg said: “When somebody needs long-term care, they typically turn to their children.”
But already, 16 percent of frail adults ages 85 and older have no surviving children to help provide their caregiving, according to AARP Public Policy Institute figures. By 2040, when the oldest boomers are in their 90s, that number will reach 21 percent….
Written by Elizabeth Ecker