How to "Reframe Aging"

Picture-frame-755804Bias against older people, or ageism, is a societal ill. It is prevalent in the workplace and in everyday life. Some of it is the result of implicit bias -- a phenomenon that obscures self-awareness. According to the non-profit Project Implicit, "People don’t always say what’s on their minds. One reason is that they are unwilling. ...The difference between being unwilling and unable is the difference between purposely hiding something from someone and unknowingly hiding something from yourself."

Whether ageism is implicit or explicit, people over age 55 experience it in both subtle and obvious ways. What can we do about that? One strategy is to engage in a process known as "reframing." The Reframing Aging Initiative offers a wealth of information and resources to facilitate the process. Funders of the first phase of the initiative included AARP, Endowment for Health and The Retirement Research Foundation. Here is a brief description of the initiative's mission:

"The Reframing Aging Initiative is a long-term social change endeavor designed to improve the public’s understanding of what aging means and the many ways that older people contribute to our society. This greater understanding will counter ageism and guide our nation’s approach to ensuring supportive policies and programs for us all as we move through the life course."

One of the initiative's communications tools, "You Say, They Think," is an eye-opening glimpse at some misunderstandings and ignorance about aging. For example, when an aging expert says, "Ageism must be treated as a serious social issue so that older people can participate fully as workers and citizens," some listeners may think, "Ageism? Is that a real thing?" The responsibility of the aging expert is to respond appropriately, following guidelines such as these:

- Use the value Justice to prime people to think about our cultural commitment to equality for everyone.
- Define “implicit bias.” Research shows that simply explaining what it is and how it works can be effective in reducing people’s bias against older people.
- Offer an explanatory example, like workplace discrimination, to show how ageism works and how it affects us all.
- Share specific Solutions to expand people’s thinking about what can be done.

I offer this example from the Reframing Aging initiative not in an attempt to turn all of us into aging experts, but rather to illustrate the importance of addressing ageism when each of us personally faces age discrimination.

The social justice movements we witnessed and may have participated in growing up -- whether it was civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, etc. -- identified and exposed inequities that existed for a long time. While we as a society have not solved all of these inequities, such movements succeeded in raising the level of consciousness and bringing important issues to the forefront. Perhaps we, too, need a movement to identify and expose ageism. I like to think that each of us can play a role in making that happen.

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A Few Major Takeaways from the "2021 Century Summit"

Screen Shot 2022-01-13 at 2.01.02 PMIn early December, I attended sessions from the online "2021 Century Summit," which was convened by the Longevity Project in collaboration with the Stanford Center on Longevity. One of the topics covered was "The New Map of Life," which I discussed in a previous post. Now I want to share some major takeaways from the Century Summit that I think will have a major bearing on how we Boomers face the future.

Dealing with longevity
One key issue raised numerous times was increasing longevity. According to one speaker, when you consider the average 65-year old couple, one of them has a 50 percent chance of living to age 93. While 50 percent of people say they want to live to 100, 60 percent say they are more fearful of outliving their assets than they are of death. Living longer has a significant impact on how nations around the world deal with aging populations, and it will undoubtedly affect social safety nets and programs for the elderly in the future. On an individual basis, as many Boomers anticipate living longer, their major concerns will revolve around health and financial security. Boomers will be challenged to not just get to retirement but to live through retirement.

Flexible work life
Close to 70 percent of older people say they want to continue to work. Some Boomers will have to work almost indefinitely because of financial needs. Even those who believe they are financially secure may want to continue working to lead purposeful lives. The result is a whole new definition of work life. Many Boomers want to weave together work, education, volunteering and leisure into a more flexible work life. They will have to find ways to restructure their lives to live differently from before. One positive development is that employers are currently so anxious to find workers that they could be willing to hire older workers on a flexible part-time basis. An increasing number of employers also recognize that inclusive and diverse workplaces are better, and that older workers are statistically proven to stay longer and take less time off than younger workers. Another positive development is that Americans over age 55 are driving the establishment of small businesses.

Aging at home
Over 80 percent of older Americans own a home and a significant number of them intend to stay in their current homes and "age in place." The reality, however, may demand thinking differently. Boomers who have lived in the same house for decades may find existing stairs too difficult to navigate, empty rooms inefficient and an accumulation of material possessions unnecessary. That could make downsizing attractive. Some new ways of accommodating an aging population are in development and more are coming in the future. One speaker discussed the growing demand for non-age segregated communities that promote intergenerational living. For example, some retirement communities are set up on or near college campuses and others are adjacent to daycare centers. Expect this trend to continue.

The above are just a handful of observations from this eye-opening summit. The link below provides access to recordings of all of the sessions held at the 2021 Century Summit.

https://www.longevity-project.com/century-summit-december-2021

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Growing Old in America: A Reality Check

Pexels-marcus-aurelius-6787440If you currently draw Social Security benefits, you'll notice a 5.9 percent increase in your monthly check beginning in 2022. It's the most substantial COLA (Cost Of Living Adjustment) for older Americans in thirty years. At the same time, if your health insurance is original Medicare, the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B increases from $148.50 to $170.10, in addition to an increase in the Part B annual deductible from $203 to $233.

This is a good example of one of the major dilemmas of growing old in America, especially for those who are on a fixed income. As the government giveth, the government taketh away. For many of us, the bump in Social Security will quickly be eaten up by inflationary prices along with the rise in Medicare costs.

Perhaps more to the point, the push-and-pull relationship of Social Security and Medicare is symbolic of the under-appreciation of America's elders. Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, expressed it very well in his recent opinion piece for The Hill entitled "It Shouldn't be This Hard to Grow Old in America." He wrote:

"The idea of growing old in America today is becoming more uncertain and even scary, and it shouldn't be. This is one of the wealthiest nations on earth. While many seniors are fortunate to have adequate retirement income, affordable health care, and the means to live independently after decades of working, millions of others do not. ...

The two bedrock social insurance programs of the 20th century - Social Security and Medicare - have not been sufficiently updated to reflect seniors' 21st century needs (though serious efforts finally are underway in Congress to do so).  ...

Expanding Medicare and Social Security and allowing prescription price negotiation have overwhelming support from majorities of Americans across party lines. We should not have to fight to enact commonsense improvements for our most vulnerable citizens. ...

Aging in America should never be an intimidating prospect for anyone. Whatever it takes - a shift in societal attitudes, a political re-alignment, or the swelling senior population exercising its own power and voting in its own interests - we must rise to a higher standard for elder care."

The above are excerpts from Richtman's well-reasoned argument in a publication whose readership is largely national politicians and federal government officials. While one can only hope it doesn't fall on deaf ears, it's important to note that the "Build Back Better" legislation, which includes significant benefits for seniors, is currently stalled in Congress.

America is aging, and the segment of the population over age 55 is growing more rapidly than any other. The wealthiest minority of 55-plus Americans continue to get richer and secure their own retirement, but the majority of older Americans have less than adequate retirement savings and struggle financially when they retire. In fact, many in the 55-plus age group will need to continue to work well into their 70s if they want to experience any sort of comfortable retirement.

At some point, legislators -- and all members of American society --  must recognize that the precarious nature of many older Americans' lives will catch up with us. Growing old in America should not be "more uncertain and even scary" for anyone.

Photo by Marcus Aurelius from Pexels

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Looking Ahead with "The New Map of Life"

Screen Shot 2021-12-10 at 4.54.13 PMThe Stanford Center on Longevity is doing some excellent work around aging. A major initiative of the Center is "The New Map of Life." According to the Center, in this initiative "researchers define new models for education and lifelong learning, redesign how we work, advise new policies for health care, housing, the environment and financial security, and promote more intergenerational partnerships. It will also advance a new narrative, which redefines what it means to be 'old' and values people at different stages of life."

I wrote about this map before, but just recently, the Center issued a report about The New Map of Life that is well worth reading. (See the link below to get a free copy.) The report details eight guiding principles as follows. I've included a few excerpts for each:

  1. Age Diversity is a Net Positive
    We are in an era of "unprecedented age diversity. ...The speed, strength, and zest for discovery common in younger people, combined with the emotional intelligence and experience prevalent among older people, create possibilities for families, communities, and workplaces that haven't existed before."
  2. Invest in Future Centenarians to Deliver Big Returns
    "As people live longer and the roles and social norms associated with age become more fluid and self-defined, less uniform and regimented, qualities such as resilience, self-efficacy (a belief in one's own abilities to shape outcomes), and curiosity (rather than dread) when confronted with change will become the emotional toolkit for longevity."
  3. Align Health Spans to Life Spans
    "Health span should be the metric for determining how, when, and where longevity efforts are most effective."
  4. Prepare to be Amazed by the Future of Aging
    "Today's 5-year-olds will benefit from an astonishing array of medical advances and emerging technologies that will make their experience of aging far different from that of today's older adults."
  5. Work More Years with More Flexibility
    "Rather than plunging over a retirement 'cliff' at a time predetermined by age, workers can choose a 'glide path' to retirement over the course of several years, allowing them to gradually reduce working hours while remaining in the workforce."
  6. Learn Throughout Life
    "We envision new options for learning outside the confines of formal education, with people of all ages able to acquire the knowledge they need at each stage of their lives, and to access it in ways that fit their needs, interests, abilities, schedules, and budgets."
  7. Build Longevity-Ready Communities
    "Safe and flexible housing for an age-diverse population is one area of unmet need -- and tremendous opportunity. ... While zoning and planning decisions are up to local governments, state and federal policies can incentivize the development of climate-resistant, livable, walkable communities that promote the well-being and safety of people of all ages."
  8. Life Transitions are a Feature, Not a Bug
    The New Map of Life encourages a "whole-of-life approach" that is about "optimizing each stage of life, so that benefits can compound for decades, while at the same time allowing for more time to recover from setbacks."

While some of this may sound like pie in the sky, The New Map of Life is supported by extensive research and analysis. This initiative is an exciting visionary perspective that could be a blueprint for the quality of life as future generations age. It also has more immediate implications for the way society treats aging Boomers and the manner in which we live out our older years.

Download the free report below (PDF).

Download NewMapofLifeReport

Graphic: Stanford Center on Longevity

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Reasons for Optimism

Joe-hepburn-qr7rfIthbvc-unsplashLooking ahead to 2022, there may be a great deal of uncertainty for many Boomers. But as we age, some of us see glimmers of hope and maybe even reasons for optimism. One area that could be surprisingly bright is the job market. The "Great Resignation" we've experienced in the United States is creating a great reckoning for employers.

Tim Driver, CEO of RetirementJobs and founder of the Age-Friendly Institute, is someone who is particularly upbeat. He spoke with Chris Farrell, author of the book Unretirement, for an article on NextAvenue.org. Under Driver's leadership, RetirementJobs started a program called CAFE to help change negative stereotypes of older workers. CAFE (Certified Age Friendly Employer) recognizes companies that are among the best employers for the 50-plus worker.

 Seeking employees to fill millions of jobs, companies are not only re-evaluating their pay and benefit structures, they are taking a serious look at older workers. Driver believes there is now a compelling business argument for employers to hire Boomers. At the same time, there is a push for companies to embrace DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion). While DEI typically relates to race, gender and LGBTQ, Driver believes "Age may not be first on the list. But it's there." Driver also believes the trend of working from home is a mutual benefit to employers and older workers, who may be happy to work remotely, as well as on a part-time basis.

Another reason for optimism is the growing recognition that age discrimination has real consequences, and it must be addressed by society. Demographically, America is aging and, with it, the negative perception of older people is likely to change, even if it is gradually. One example of organizations that address this issue head on is Driver's Age-Friendly Institute, whose mission is to "harness what we learn when we listen to the voices of older adults to inform continuous age-friendly program improvement and accelerate enhanced quality of life and care for older adults." The Institute focuses on two broad areas: Elevating age-friendly solutions and fostering cross sector collaboration.

In researching information for blog posts, I have noticed a real uptick in numerous organizations, institutions and (thankfully) government agencies focusing more on age discrimination and the needs of the older population. It is also encouraging that more employers are paying attention to the Boomer demographic, even if it is because they are desperate to fill open positions. We will be far better off if everyone becomes "age-friendly" -- and there are reasons to be optimistic a societal shift is slowly happening.

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A Double Whammy

Screen Shot 2021-11-18 at 11.24.44 AMIn the numerous posts I've written about ageism, I tend to lump 50-plus men and women together. While ageism obviously applies to both genders, it is worth pointing out that there is a double whammy for women known as "gendered ageism."

In an excellent recent Forbes article, Bonnie Marcus writes that gendered ageism "is a growing concern for professional women." To validate that statement, Marcus, author of the book Not Done Yet!, collaborated on a research study that collected responses from 729 participants who ranged in age from 18 to 70+, with 65 percent of respondents from the U.S. and the remainder from Canada and Europe. It is well worth reading and considering all nine survey takeaways cited by Marcus, but I'll concentrate on three of them here, taken directly from the article:

  1. Gendered Ageism is Real – 80% of those surveyed experienced some form of gendered ageism. A third of all respondents (33%) felt they could not get a job or interview because of their age. The most common experiences were “feeling opinions were ignored” (47%), “seeing younger colleagues get attention” (42%) and “not being invited to key meetings” (35%).
  2. DEI is Not Making the Cut – When asked if their company’s DEI initiatives included gendered ageism, 77% responded that it was not included. Interestingly, 23% stated they did not know and 15% said their company did not have DEI initiatives. Public companies were more likely to have DEI, all but 3%, but only 23% of both public and private companies included gendered ageism. Almost a full third of private companies did not have DEI at all (30%). However, almost all respondents from both public and private companies (93% and 83% respectively) believed that more could be done to combat this prejudice.
  3. A No-Win Situation – Not Enough Money to Retire and Limited Prospects for Work – Gendered ageism has long term implications for retirement, with more than half of those surveyed reporting that they do not have enough money to retire and nearly all (95%) of those over 53 – including those 65-70 - stating that they want or need to keep working. Yet, more than a quarter 28% of women 59-65 thought their chances of continuing to work were “fair” or “poor”. The most common reason stated – “My company does not value older workers."

Just these three observations by Marcus are compelling enough to highlight the depth of gendered ageism in the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the precarious nature of working women in the U.S. Millions of women were forced to quit their jobs to care for younger children because of inadequate daycare. That was one indignity women suffered. But another indignity made even worse by the pandemic was gendered ageism, which likely contributed to the increase in retirees.

In her article, Marcus notes that "many women 50+ are pushed to the sidelines and/or pushed out to make room for younger workers. Though this is also true for men, women experience this earlier. Once terminated, women find it much more challenging to get rehired at a time when may they lack the funds for retirement." Sadly, ageism in general seems to be a systemic problem -- and gendered ageism is a more insidious subset.

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"Where's the Beef?"

WherestheBeefIn 1984, a series of commercials for the burger chain, Wendy's, created a sensation. It resulted in a catchphrase that became so popular it was used in the Democratic presidential debate that year: Walter Mondale asked Gary Hart, "Where's the beef?"

As you'll see in the video below, three elderly ladies were featured in the ad, with Clara Peller asking the now immortal question. The commercial was admittedly humorous and playful, but it certainly did not portray seniors in the best light. 

Fast forward to today and we still experience ageism in advertising, as I wrote about in a previous blog post. I referenced an AARP article by AgeWave founder Ken Dychtwald. In the article, Dychtwald writes that "advertising is still far too often out of sync with the reality of today's older, more seasoned buyer." He quotes Chip Conley, founder of the Modern Elder Academy, who agrees: “Many ads are viewed by the older population as stereotypical and patronizing. Most advertisers receive a failing grade in their efforts to understand and relate to older adults.”

So now I want to ask marketers everywhere: When it comes to seniors, "Where's the beef?"

It's a sad fact that when marketers aren't making fun of seniors (which they often do), they are ignoring us. Big mistake.

A recent article on Entrepreneur.com cites data about the "silver economy," a phrase the European Parliament used in 2015, that means “the sum of all economic activity that serve the needs of people aged 50 and over, including the products and services they purchase directly and the further economic activity this spending generates.”

This data from The Brookings Institute should be reason enough for marketers to sit up and pay attention to the silver economy: 

"...seniors are significant players in the economy: There are currently 750 million seniors in the world, and by 2030, there will be one billion. Seniors in the consumer class are expected to grow by as much as 66% and are the wealthiest age group in the world (alongside older professionals aged 45-64 years). The number of seniors grows by 3.2% every year compared to an overall population growth rate of 0.8%."

Entrepreneur.com laments, "65-plus is often a discarded demographic." As a 65-plus Boomer who retired from the marketing profession, I'm amazed and perturbed that leading brands and their agencies simply do not fathom that we Boomers are equivalent to a prime A1 cut of beef as a target demographic. Marketers, here's some news for you: WE BUY STUFF! Not only that, research shows the Boomer consumer is discerning, willing to consider different products, open to change and tech savvy. You and I know it. I wish marketers understood it too. Hey, marketers, the answer to the question, "Where's the beef?" is RIGHT HERE. It's not the young 'uns, it's the Boomer audience!

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New Book Shows How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"


Do You Experience Everyday Ageism?

K-mitch-hodge-r3IE4JJLrFk-unsplashEveryday ageism is prevalent in the lives of older adults, as evidenced in research conducted by the University of Michigan National Poll on Aging. The poll, conducted in December 2019, examined older adults' experiences with forms of everyday ageism categorized into three groups: (1) exposure to ageist messages, (2) ageism in interpersonal interactions, and (3) internalized ageism (personally held beliefs about aging and older people). Overall, 82% of older adults reported regularly experiencing at least one form of everyday ageism in their day-to-day lives.

Two in three older adults (65%) reported exposure to ageist messages in their day-to-day lives. This included often or sometimes hearing, seeing, and/or reading jokes about old age, aging, or older people (61%) or hearing, seeing, and/or reading things suggesting that older adults and aging are unattractive or undesirable (38%).

Nearly half of older adults (45%) reported experiencing ageism in their interpersonal interactions. In addition, 36% of adults age 50–80 endorsed at least one form of internalized ageism based on their agreement that feeling lonely (29%) or feeling depressed, sad, or worried (26%) are a normal part of getting older. Older adults who reported experiencing three or more forms of everyday ageism in their day-to-day lives had worse physical and mental health than those who reported fewer forms of ageism. Older adults who experienced more forms of ageism were also more likely to have a chronic health condition such as diabetes or heart disease than those reporting fewer forms.

On the plus side, the majority of poll respondents agreed that they feel more comfortable being themselves as they have gotten older (88%) and that they have a strong sense of purpose (80%). About two in three older adults said that they agree that as they have gotten older, their feelings about aging have become more positive (67%) and that their life is better than they thought it would be (65%). Overall, the vast majority of older adults (94%) agreed with at least one of these four positive views on aging and 51% agreed with all four statements. The good news is, regardless of commonly experienced everyday ageism, older adults have a largely positive perspective on aging. Still, that points to a disturbing disconnect between how society views aging and older adults' perception of aging.

If you're anything like the 50-to-80 age group respondents in this poll, you too have almost certainly experienced some form of everyday ageism. It may be a relatively harmless yet irritating experience, such as being called a disrespectful name by a retail store clerk or waiter. It may be exposure to a derogatory ad that degrades older people. Or it could be a lot more serious -- like routinely being discriminated against in the workplace because of your age. It is essential that we Boomers don't let any such experiences with ageism define who we are or what we believe about ourselves.

We can probably all agree with the conclusion of the researchers at the National Poll on Aging:

"Ageism is a product of American culture that should be acknowledged, discussed, and addressed. Increased consideration of how negative stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination toward older people affect responses to major public health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic could present a key opportunity to challenge assumptions that contribute to ageism. Addressing everyday ageism may have far-reaching benefits for the health and well-being of older adults."

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"I Know I Should, But..."

Brett-jordan-vFGKWON91Bc-unsplashThere is an interesting human trait in many of us, and it seems to grow more pronounced as we age. It's the idea of Intention vs. Action, which I like to think of as "I know I should, but..." A few examples related to Boomers may be appropriate to illustrate the concept.

Recently, financial services firm Edward Jones updated its landmark study, "The Four Pillars of the New Retirement." In reporting the results, the firm stated the following (with my parenthetical editorial comments in italics):

...the impacts of the pandemic resulted in nearly 50 million Americans halting or reducing contributions to retirement savings. An additional 38 million withdrew money from retirement savings. Yet at the same time, retirement savings boosted for others as 59 million Americans began contributing more to their retirement savings. (It appears that the pandemic actually closed the gap between intention and action for those who knew they should contribute more to retirement but didn't do it until an extraordinary event made them realize they should.)

The study illuminated the gap between intention and action as a majority of Americans ages 50+ (71%) believe having a will in place is the most important action to take before someone dies, yet only 49% actually have a will. Further, only 19% of adults 50+ have all three essential end-of-life documents in place: a will, health care directive/living will and designated power of attorney. (Hundreds of thousands of deaths from a virus make you think about your mortality. Still, it is fascinating and a bit disconcerting that a large majority of Boomers know they need a will, yet less than half of them actually have one.)

I think it is safe to say this same Intention vs. Action mentality is pervasive in our daily lives. Maybe some of these statements will resonate with you:

  • "I know I should eat healthier, but it's a pain in the neck to change my diet right now."
  • "I know I should exercise more, but I'm just too busy (or too tired, or whatever)."
  • "I know I should get rid of all that junk in the basement (or attic, or wherever), but I'll get around to it some day."

I'm sure you can think of many other examples. The idea is that our intentions may be noble, but our execution leaves something to be desired. You could characterize this as procrastination or perhaps negative inertia. It's probably the same feeling you have when you ponder that chore we all dread -- doing your taxes by April 15. Personally, I'm reminded of a silly little round piece of wood I saw in a joke shop years ago with words stamped on it that read, "Round Tuit."

At the risk of sounding preachy, Boomers need to reckon with the fact that we are in the second half of our lives -- a time when action on any number of things becomes more important than it was when we were younger. I truly believe all of us have good intentions. The real question is whether we have the will to convert our good intentions into actions... before we run out of time.

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Who Will Take Care of Us?

Georg-arthur-pflueger-eO_JhqabBY0-unsplashIn a previous post, I wrote about the popularity of "aging in place" and discussed why, in some cases, it isn't always a great alternative for aging Boomers. A recent article in The New York Times discusses some of the financial challenges and addresses in general the costs associated with growing older. The article cites a 2019 study from the federal Department of Health and Human Studies "found that over their lifetimes, about 70 percent of older adults will need help from family caregivers or paid aides or some combination, in their own homes or in long-term care facilities." A more recent study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College examined "both intensity and duration — how much help older Americans will need and for how long." The results indicated the following:

"...Seventeen percent of 65-year-olds will need no long-term care. Almost one-quarter will develop severe needs, requiring many hours of help for more than three years.
   Most older people will fall between those poles, with 22 percent having only minimal needs. The largest group, 38 percent, can expect moderate needs — like support while they recover from a heart attack, after which they can again function independently."

Another recent article in The New York Times cites a 2018 AARP survey that indicated "76 percent of those ages 50 and older said they preferred to remain in their current residence as they age." The article discusses the plight of home care aides :

"The ranks of home care aides are expected to grow by more than those of any other job in the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s also among the lowest paying occupations on the list.
  Nearly one in five aides lives below the poverty line. In six states, the average hourly wage for home care aides is less than $11, and nationally, the median pay has increased just $1.75 an hour over the last decade, when adjusted for inflation."

Considering the information above, Boomers are headed for a long-term healthcare reckoning. If we want to age in place, the older we get, the more likely we will have to get help from family members, which is not always possible, or home care aides. These workers are highly stressed out right now. In the current pandemic, home care aides are one of the more vulnerable groups, not just because of potential exposure to the virus but also because of their low economic status. In The Times article, one of those aides made an important point:

“We should be able to take care of our own families while providing care for other families,” said Lilieth Clacken, a 61-year-old home health aide and member of the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East union. “The work is undervalued and underpaid.”

Some innovative programs, such as the "Aging Well Support Program" at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, could make a difference to Boomers who want to age in place. It offers "Community Health Screenings, Caregiver Workshops, and programs to support mental and physical wellness. In addition, we offer Individualized Aging Support Services to provide ongoing Care Coordination for concerns related to memory, fall risk, nutrition, and behavioral health." We need more helpful programs like this to limit the risks and improve health outcomes for aging Boomers.

The other side of the equation is long-term care facilities, such as an assisted living facility. If we choose this alternative over aging in place, we will inevitably pay a high monthly fee (and in some cases an entry fee) to be cared for around the clock. Even in these facilities, however, care aides are poorly compensated in terms of salary and benefits.

It's a sad testament to overall national priorities that home care aides and aides at long-term care facilities are at the lowest end of the pay scale -- as are teachers and social services professionals. There is also currently no compensation available to family members for taking care of older relatives. It certainly makes it all the more challenging to answer the question, "Who will take care of us?"

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

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New Book Shows How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"