“Silver Tsunami” is a phrase coined to describe the growing senior population here in the US and worldwide and the impact that this is having and will have on lives. The statistics are sobering and has been likened to a catastrophic storm.
Every day 10,000 American are turning 65. This impacts the cost of healthcare, the workplace, and families struggling to care for their aging loved ones. There are no simple solutions but there are things we can do individually to help mitigate the effect of this.
Due to advances in science and medicine, people are living longer than ever before. Many illnesses and injuries that used to be life-threatening are now easier to fight off. Seniors today will most likely live longer than previous generations. While most people are happy about this, our communities are coming to grips with how best to deploy the resources that will be needed to accommodate our growing senior population. And how to pay for them. Two areas of high impact of an aging population are healthcare and economics.
Maintaining good health is the single most important thing we can do as individuals. Diet, exercise and finding a meaningful use of one’s time whether through employment or volunteerism, are things all within our control. It is well documented that maintaining some form of routine exercise can have dramatic effects on your over health and well-being. And aging in good health is important if you need or want to continue working and earning.
Retirement has long been a goal for working Americans. But unless you have a significant retirement saving or a lucrative guaranteed pension, you like the majority of Americans may not be able to retire as you originally envisioned.
One solution is to retire later or develop additional sources of income. If your health is good (see above) and you maintain a high level of energy working into your retirement years is not a bad thing. To the contrary, it can be the best thing for people to do to maintain their intellect, physical vigor, and social connections.
Another thing you can do is lower your cost of living. This can be accomplished by downsizing to a smaller less expensive home or area. Many seniors are retiring outside the US where the total cost of living can often be met with their Social Security income.
It’s important to talk to your family about your options and desires before it’s necessary. Many families don’t like to discuss things like assisted living or how to handle the financial costs if a loved one gets Alzheimer’s. But it’s so much easier to tackle the challenges of aging if you have a plan. Talk to your family now so you’re all better prepared when the time comes to make the hard decisions.