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Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam

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Americans will need help caring for aging baby boomers

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Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam

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As baby boomers begin to consider senior living options, the burdens of senior healthcare will fall upon working millennials and Gen X, who will be raising their children and working one or two jobs while also caring for their aging parents. It’s a burden that will present unique challenges to Americans today and in the years ahead.

Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid is particularly concerned about the high cost of most senior healthcare options, combined with the lack of public healthcare and the strict limitations of both Medicaid and Medicare. The increasing financial burden of senior care, Reid notes, looks even more impossible for working-age Americans to cover once you overlap those with the rising costs of childcare.

I’ve spoken here many times on the childcare crisis in our country, and about the burden that it places on caregivers, and especially on women who tend to take on the bulk of that work. But today, I’m going to talk about an issue at the opposite end of the spectrum, and that is — eldercare.

Baby boomers are aging, and their midlife children … we’re soon going to start being presented with the need to care for this population of parents, often while simultaneously caring for our own young children, and often while also working full-time at jobs that rarely provide paid leave, which is impossible for anyone without limitless resources.

In 2030, there will be more United States residents over the age of 65 than children. We’re about to have a huge population of people requiring complex ongoing care. And yet policymakers don’t seem to view this as a pressing issue. Medicare doesn’t cover most long-term care. Medicaid requires applicants to have next to no assets in order to be eligible, which cuts out a lot of lower- and middle-income people.

I’ve spoken here many times on the childcare crisis in our country, and about the burden that it places on caregivers and especially on women who tend to take on the bulk of that work. But today, I’m going to talk about an issue at the opposite end of the spectrum, and that is eldercare. Baby Boomers are aging and their midlife children, we’re soon going to start being presented with the need to care for this population of parents often while simultaneously caring for our own young children. And often while also working full time at jobs that rarely provide paid leave. Which is, I mean, it’s impossible for anyone without limitless resources. In 2030, there will be more United States residents over the age of 65 than children. We’re about to have a huge population of people requiring complex ongoing care. And yet policymakers don’t seem to view this as a pressing issue. Medicare doesn’t cover most long term care. Medicaid requires applicants to have next to no assets in order to be eligible, which cuts out a lot of lower and middle income people. Nursing homes on top of being extremely pricey, even just a semi private room can run almost $100,000 A year also have huge variance in terms of the quality of care provided. And the last option, private in home care is just like financially way out of reach for most people. So who does the burden of care follow on while on family members and most often women who are as a reminder more often than not responsible for the bulk of childcare as well. And all of this takes a serious toll. Studies have found that caregivers have elevated rates of depression of anxiety and increased risk of suffering from stress related physical ailments such ailments such as heart disease. So what do we do? It is a deeply complex issue that is going to require a dedicated multi pronged approach. But a start would be loosening requirements for Medicaid and passing laws requiring companies to provide paid leave for employees who need time away to care for aging family members, and New York. Some progress has been made through programs that allow family caregivers to be paid fairly nominal amounts of money through Medicaid and that is a step in the right direction. But it is not a magic bullet. It just never stops being astounding to me, the extent of policymakers disregard for the very young and the very old, and by extension for those of us in the middle who are responsible for them all. We need help and we need it soon.

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