A friend of mine will be celebrating a 50th birthday shortly. Now we all know that 50 is the new 30, but this birthday milestone seems to have triggered a subconscious thought in this friend that seems to make its way into many a conversation without any limitations to the age of her audience….”who will take care of me when I get older”? I was having dinner with this friend along with her niece and nephew who are 13 and 10 years old. My friend is italian so she naturally uses food to please her niece and nephew making them their favorite dishes. During dessert she shares with the children how happy she is that they enjoyed the meal and jokes with each of them about taking care of her when she gets “old”. They smile, laugh and respond affirmatively, of course. While I am amused by my friends attempt to “gain future favor” with her niece and nephew as caregivers, for baby boomers the reality of aging is approaching rapidly and the statistics are worth mentioning.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the older population–persons 65 years or older–numbered 39.6 million in 2009. They represented 12.9% of the U.S. population, about one in every eight Americans. By 2030 there will be about 72.1 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000. People 65-plus years old represented 12.4% of the population in the year 2000, but that’s expected to grow to be 19% of the population by 2030. This will mean more demand for elderly care facilities in the coming years. There were more than 36,000 assisted living facilities in the United States in 2009. More than 1 million senior citizens are served by these assisted living facilities.
Since most families will at one time or another experience the responsibility for elders, mediation provides assistance in helping families come to mutual agreement on the stressful decisions and care for elders. A professional mediator will assist family members in communicating and developing creative alternatives to all solutions while always maintaining the respect and best interest of the elder.