America is greying. The baby boomers are turning 65 at the rate 10,000 every single day. Longevity is the latest marvel in the history of humanity. We are living a much healthier and longer life than any other epoch in the history.
But the question that arises is- are we prepared to tackle this mass aging of America?
The current state of affairs point toward a straight no! Just as the society and its institutions were not prepared to tackle the baby boom, in the same manner we are not yet even close enough at being prepared for the age wave that has already started to take place.
So, here from Comfort Keepers Silicon Valley we have done a thorough research on the available literature on this issue and have come up with 5 action points to focus on while trying to cope up with this unique challenge known as the greying of America.
Reshaping the Concept of Aging
The first thing is to essentially but dramatically alter the perception of age and ageing. A predominant part of ageing is vastly psychological and each and every part of our social structure plays a part in shaping this preconceived idea or concept.
Due to this debilitating concept although the medical science has managed to prolong our lives to more years but our social, political, and religious institutions have not yet been able to make any real use of these added years of our senior lives. What we need in this regard is a total reinvention in the approach towards the elderly population.
We have to change the processes of the youth centric model of volunteerism in order to create more scope for the elderly to participate. We have to reorient the workforce to put the experience, knowledge and wisdom gained over the years by our loved seniors to productive endeavors. We have to make a wealth out of this huge retired population that is currently wasting their invaluable years in front the TV set.
Boosting Health Science Innovation
We here from Comfort Keepers have been saying it for a long time now that in order to avoid the coming pandemic of diseases related with aging we have to bolster innovation in the field of health science with a special focus on Alzheimer’s. Otherwise the coming age wave can literally cause an epidemic out of the diseases of aging.
We have to boost up scientific breakthroughs in order to prevent, treat, eliminate and cure the diseases of aging like cancer, dementia, heart diseases, diabetes, Parkinson’s and others. Alzheimer’s certainly requires more than average attention simply because of the fact that an astounding number of seniors are suffering from it at present and more are being affected every day. Besides, it’s being 100% fatal without any cure till now.
On the other hand we also have to give enough attention on building up more proficient elder care institutions and trained caregivers. Along with it we also have to create a more humanistic, cordial and respectful end of life and palliative care programs for seniors.
Maintaining Productivity Intact into the Senior Years
With a view to turning our loved seniors into national resource we have to develop such processes and programs that would allow them to bring their productivity well into their declining years. We have to create such an environment that would facilitate the view of maturity as an opportunity of reinventing life and the self; as a time of newer explorations and new beginnings.
In this regard community colleges, corporate socially responsible employers and the internet have to be more vigilant in making learning a lifelong process. So that our seniors keep on learning, rebooting and reinventing their skills and knowledge base in a continuous way.
Challenging the Concept of Retirement
Often we come across seniors who are very enthusiastic and in good health feeling frustrated about not being able to take part in productive work and ventures. And with the increased number of seniors in town we will have more such seniors who would do a great job in utilizing their life long experience and wisdom if given proper opportunity.
Therefore, we have to create such scope for our seniors to get involved and have their fair share in the gross production of the community.
We also have to implement affluence tests to determine the eligibility of the “Old age” entitlements like Medicare, social security etc. Otherwise, we would only end up overburdening the younger generation to support such huge numbers.
Avoiding Elder Poverty at a Mass Level
Although most of our aging seniors do have access to social security and other financial security like retirement plans, personal savings, family inheritance to maintain their financial stability. In spite of that there are more than 25 million baby boomers who have no such financial backups to look forward to when they will face retirement.
In this situation it is of prime importance that we took some serious plans for educating our aging seniors on financial safety issues. We should also encourage to have personal savings.
And if we fail to take adequate measures regarding this then the nation will find it difficult to face the blows of the approaching Mass Elder Poverty.
Now, are we ready to take these actions and to make these changes in order to prepare America for the approaching Age Wave?
It is completely on us to decide!