Have you heard the one about the 100-year life? It’s not a joke. It’s a thing. It used to be a marvel when people lived to be 100. My own mother lived until she was 106. With advances in health care and technology, lots and lots of baby boomers are going to live to 100 and beyond.
Many businesses have been betting that there’s a way to cash in on all the baby boomers headed for retirement. They could sell more hearing aids, anti-wrinkle cream, incontinence products, cosmetic surgery, walk-in bathtubs, etc.
To be sure, there is a so-called longevity economy and it is turning into a huge emerging market. But one of the surefire bets was that boomers would want to move into senior-housing facilities that would cater to boomers, especially as they might require more care. Hasn’t worked out that way however. There’s a surplus of senior housing and boomers are passing for now. We’re staying put because we’re staying fit and value our independence. The latest demographic trend indicates that seniors are not moving to senior housing until they reach 82 years old. The oldest boomers will not turn 80 until the year 2026. Whoops.
Occupancy rates for assisted living facilities are at their lowest level since they started tracking this stat in 2006. The glut may also be attributed to an over estimation of how many seniors can pay anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000 per month.
At those prices, it’s no surprise that seniors over age 90 are trying to stay in their own homes and live independently for as long as they can.
Today’s 75-year-olds have the health profile of 65-year-olds. Fifty per cent of people ages 85 or older say they are healthy enough to work. And work is what they do. Have you noticed that it’s no longer unusual to see much older workers on the job? Fast food servers, hotel clerks, maintenance persons, teachers. Gray haired workers are showing up across the occupational spectrum and we hardly notice the difference.
So there you have it…an entire generation is morphing into an Energizer bunny that keeps going and going and going.
Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.