Understanding our aging society
March 6, 2019
The demographic landscape of America is changing. With baby boomers on the precipice of retirement, dynamics are shifting in industries far and wide. While 2020 census data is still a year away, a recent Profile of Older Americans produced by the federal Administration for Community Living revealed staggering numbers. In 2016, one of every seven Americans was age 65 or older, an increase of 33 percent over the previous 10 years. That adds up to a population of 49.2 million American seniors. The sheer size of our aging community galvanizes the senior housing, senior care and health care industries. A growing senior demographic will continue to drive the construction of more senior housing units. Current predictions put the need at around 3 million units in 2040. This is nearly 1.5 million more units than the current inventory. Additionally, the developers of these units will be forced to adjust to the changing demand this generation is putting on senior housing. Our aging society’s impact on senior care is quickly taking hold. The home care workers industry predicted to need an additional million workers by 2026. The Healthcare staffing consultancy Mercer recently reported the U.S. will likely face a shortage of 446,300 home health aides by 2025. The home care industry isn’t the only one facing a need for more workers. Mercer also predicts there will be a shortage 98,700 medical and lab techs, 95,000 nursing assistants and 29,400 nurse practitioners by 2025. These projections bring into focus the impact of so many Americans growing older at once. Our aging society is positioned to have a broad impact on a macro level, affecting politics, Wall Street and health care policy, and so too in more personal and community-focused contexts. The role of those making connections between seniors, their family members, and care and housing providers grows more vital by the day. Nimble operations able to adjust to greater volume and embrace innovation will have a key advantage.