When you think about retirement, do you dream of sunny skies and the time to do all of the things you didn’t have time for while working? Unfortunately, a growing number of baby boomers today are facing a serious problem upon retirement—homelessness. In fact, if the current trends continue, the number of aging homeless in three major metropolitan areas will double by 2030.
The growing population of homeless baby boomers is presenting cities and counties with unique challenges. Seniors are more likely to have complex medical problems that traditional homeless shelters are not equipped to handle. Hospitals do not have the space to accommodate elderly people who are too sick to live in a shelter but not in need of acute care.
The study of homeless populations in three metropolitan areas (Boston, New York and Los Angeles County) found that many of the baby boomers who find themselves homeless were part of the wave of younger, less educated seniors who faced serious economic challenges when growing up and never recovered. During that wave, a disproportionate number of people became homeless. Many now-homeless baby boomers worked physically demanding, low-paying jobs that lacked pensions and benefits. As a result, a life spent barely making ends meet has led to this. Some of them remain homeless today, and other seniors who lacked sufficient retirement savings are joining them.
Some cities are creating new housing facilities for aging homeless populations. The amount of money currently spent on medical care and inadequate shelters could be funneled into new nursing homes and senior care facilities that can accommodate these populations. This problem will also require new solutions, as the current rate of increase in the homeless population will far outweigh any small new housing developments. Homelessness prevention is far less expensive than interventions after the fact, just like disease prevention is always less expensive than treating a late-stage illness.
At Senior Care Lifestyles, we specialize in facilitating the connection between seniors and the right in-home care, assisted living and senior living communities. We have assisted hundreds of families with finding effective and affordable solutions for loved ones. Get in touch today by calling 410-977-3718!