It’s 2021 and I believe we will all agree that the typical nuclear family of a husband, wife, son, daughter, and dog is no longer what we think of when describing the family of today. Our family dynamics have changed, and our rapidly aging population is living longer with more complex caregiving issues and less familial support than ever. In the next few weeks, we will explore our new Modern Aging Family.
Growing Senior Population
For those of you who like numbers, some surprising statistics include the explosive growth of our senior population. By 2030, 28% of our population will be over 60 years old. In Georgia, we have the 11th fastest growing 60+ population and 10th fastest growing 85+ population. Georgia’s 85+ population will increase by over 300% by 2030, making it the fastest-growing age group. How does this affect senior caregiving? What are our new realities with our Modern Aging Family?
Let’s take a look at today’s Modern Family. Families are smaller due to the growth of single-parent households and decreased fertility. There is no longer a dominant family form in the U.S. We often see families that consist of two parents in a first marriage, two parents in re-marriages, cohabiting parents, single parents, and no parents. More than 40% of today’s 75-year-olds live alone. Also new, 2020 was the first time the Census captured the U.S. population of LGBTQ+ people.
Elder Orphans and Solo Agers
More than one in five American over age 65 are aging without family caretakers. We often refer to this group as solo agers or elder orphans. Elder Orphans are older individuals living in the community who are socially and/or physically isolated, without an available known family member or designated surrogate or caregiver. Solo Agers are people, either single or coupled, who don’t have children or close family to help them as they grow older. Older women are twice as likely as older men to live alone. We have discussed the issues older women seem to experience such as increased poverty, longer lives that require more expensive long-term care, and a host of other concerns. As you can see, aging Americans and their growing need for care is not something we can stick our heads in the sand about. Unfortunately, at this time, affordable care options have not caught up with the need for services.
The New Modern Family: LGBTQ+, Blended Families, and the “Young Old”
Our exploration of the new Modern Family will also dive into blended families, LGBTQ+ seniors, and the “young old” (under 65). Are you in any of these situations? Do you have questions about how to protect yourself and plan for your financial and legal future? Call Hurley Elder Care Law at 404-843-0121 to discuss your options.
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