In 2014, 46.2 million Americans, or 14.5 percent of the population, were 65 or older, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. By 2040, that number is projected to grow to 21.7 percent.
This so-called silver tsunami has significant social and economic consequences. As baby boomers and Gen Xers live longer, healthier lives thanks to continued advancements in medicine, there will be more senior citizens who need some sort of assistance. At the same time, there will be proportionally fewer people under 65 to provide that assistance.
The assistance seniors need then will vary greatly, as it does now. Some will deteriorate physically and mentally to the point where they need full-time care in nursing homes. An overwhelming majority (71 percent) of those 50 to 64 years old, however, say they would rather “age in place” — that is, remain in their own homes even as their needs for assistance grow over time.
Senior care professionals, therefore, face a pressing challenge: how to provide the best, most efficient care for the most seniors across a full spectrum of models that include both existing homes and care communities.
Technology, it turns out, could be a significant part of the solution.