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Baby Boomers Face Housing Issues

We all know how the Baby Boomer generation, born in the years following World War II, earned that nickname for the very reason that there are so many of them. The Baby Boomer generation is largely attributed as a source of the stress exerted on federal and state programs like social security, Medicare and Medicaid, among many others. As the “Boomers” reach their retirement age, many will over time require a certain level of care even in their pre-elderly years. A significant issue for any retiree, now that they will no longer work full time, and perhaps because the kids are grown and out of the house, is finding a home suitable for the retirement years. A major concern is that the country will not be able to handle this new group and its demands for affordable housing in suitable locations and near the necessary services for those getting into their twilight years.

A recent Philadelphia Inquirer article on the matter cites a report done by the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies together with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). The report has found that “the number of adults 50 and older is expected to grow to 133 million by 2030, an increase of more than 70 percent since 2000.” As the article further details, the rising costs of housing around the country have “a third of adults 50 and older” as well as 7% of adults age 80 and up to all pay an astounding 30% of their income on housing, at the expense of other important costs like healthcare, which itself is especially vital to the well-being of people as they get older. Much of this money also eats into retirement savings.

This is particularly dangerous in an economy where so many have lost so much, and those at older ages are out of ways to rebound and get it back. And to make things worse, much of the housing is not of the ideal locale or accessibility to necessities for people, making it more of a waste of money. Much of the basic items the article mentions includes, “no-step entries, extra-wide doorways, and lever-style door and faucet handles” that can help “older people with disability . . . [live] safely and comfortably in their homes.”

Most notably, the article address what is calls the “disconnect[]” between housing and healthcare. So many adults entering retirement years are more likely to be disabled or face a disability in the future, and there consequently must be some adequate planning ahead, which includes wise planning for housing options. As reported, the supermajority of those who pass the age of 65 will need healthcare over the long run, and it was found that homeowners can afford several years of care while those who rent their living space can only afford a few months. Thus there is overall a significant problem. And intuitively, one wonders if this could be the next boon for nursing homes as many adults approaching elderly age eventually will have nowhere else to go, while facilities will be glad to bill insurance plans and Medicare and Medicaid for taking them in as residents.

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Calls to Step Up Funding of the Elder Justice Act