Personally, I think dire predictions about the “silver tsunami” will turn out to be wrong, thanks to a combination of medical science and free-market forces. I think researchers will figure out how to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease and many other conditions that affect many of us in old age.
I think that employers will discover that 80-year-olds can be just as productive as 30-year-olds, and that policymakers will revamp benefits programs to keep them from promoting ageism.
Most of us will work until we’re 80, because, if we’re healthy, why the heck not?
But I have no psychic powers whatsoever, and I could be wrong. Maybe the percentage of baby boomers who suffer from severe dementia will turn out to be higher than expected. Maybe typical workers will still expect to retire by 70, or even by 65.
Maybe ageism will be so resistant to change that even 60-year-olds will continue to have trouble keeping and finding jobs.
If so, and if we want to have a society that continues to function, we’ll need to be able to get through big changes.
That’s why I think a recent board meeting document posted by the managers of Nevada’s state-based Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange is relevant to long-term care (LTC) planners and anyone else with an interest in the United States sticking together.
Bruce Gilbert, the executive director of that exchange, pointed out that even the state-based public exchange programs have trouble getting the consistent, up-to-date, comprehensive information they want from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
In other words: Not even the state-government chartered entities that are going through fire to keep a program that HHS allegedly loves alive can trust HHS to give them honest answers to their questions.
If that situation persists: Think of how that will cripple our efforts to deal with massive waves of social change.
Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning economists, makes great persuasive arguments that, in the short run, at least, government deficit spending is not a big deal. Maybe that’s true.
But, however the government spending system works, in the long run, if the 80-something boomers of the 2030s look like the 80-something people of the 2010s, we’re going to need more long-term care (LTC) facilities, more LTC workers (or more LTC services robots and more LTC services robot managers), more medical services capacity and more ability to provide food and other necessities for older people who are no longer working.