Challenges Facing Older Households
Published on February 1, 2013 by Jerry Lovrien
Health Care Management students know that we are just starting to see the wave of Baby Boomers that will be reaching retirement age over the next 20 years. Broadview University graduates will be moving into employment opportunities generated by the challenges facing this demographic.
The 2012 study by the MetLife Mature Market Institute summarized the changing characteristics of American households. While many of the findings are not surprising, they do leave some questions to be answered.
- Less than half (48.4%) of all households are currently made up of the ‘traditional’ husband and wife structure. This is the first time this has happened since data has been collected.
- More than 27% of families are characterized as one-person households. This is up from 1990.
- A record number of parents with children have moved in with their parent’s over the last 10 years. In general, the grandparent is characterized as the head of household.
- More that 50% of those surveyed with adult children have given them some sort of monetary support. Close to 25% expect their children to do the same for them if needed.
- Almost 40% don’t know where they will turn if they need financial assistance.
- Whatever the ‘family type’, retirement security is the primary concern for the older family demographic. Social Security and health care costs top the list of financial worries.
We are only beginning to experience the wave that will be eligible for Social Security and Medicare over the next 20 years. In 2012, slightly over 49 million beneficiaries were enrolled in the Medicare program. This number is projected to increase to 64 million by 2020 and 81 million by 2030. Economists and politicians will continue to debate the numbers but the “unfunded liability” (promises we made but haven’t paid-for) for these programs is big. The numbers range from $18 trillion to over $60 trillion and Medicare continues to be a major driver of our debt.
These are data healthcare managers should know and understand. Students and graduates from Broadview University are studying these issues.
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