It used to be that sociologists could predict most of the needs of an aging population based on its size and composition. The Baby Boomer’s needs have been predicted and planned for many years. Well, gang, the future is changing very rapidly with variables never factored into the “what will it look like for older adults” equation.
Some things will remain the same
Regardless of who’s in office or the ongoing effects of a pandemic, or the unpredictable nature of climate change and its effects, seniors will always require health care. There are more of us, and we’re living longer, so the guess is that there will be a crisis in the health care industry without enough trained caregivers to meet all our needs. The cost of providing that care, which will be spread across both the institutionalized and private sectors, is soaring. Despite the rising cost, wages and benefits for health aides are lagging, which means fewer will enter those much-needed jobs to do the work for seniors.
Despite some not-so-great things that will impact seniors, there is plenty to feel uplifted about. For one, advancing science in the fields from health care to energy and the effects of climate change will continue to provide workarounds for many of our current problems. Along these lines, improvements in prevention and medical treatments will become more personalized. Predicting dementia and formulating ways, both medically and socially, to deal with it will be a boon to many who experience its ravages.
Blossoming ideas for ways to cope
Poverty, especially for older members of society, will remain injurious. People will be required to work longer to qualify or pay for the innovations that will provide greater affordable options for seniors, be that medically or through infrastructure.
Helping older adults remain connected to other people will receive funding and the development of new programs to make it easier for us. The issue of loneliness has been recognized as a key factor in longevity. As a result, how communities are created and how programs for seniors are adopted will change to include a focus on reducing isolation. These changes include the creation of virtual assistants like Alexa as well as communication enhancements for shut-ins like FaceTime and Skype.
Happiness in the future depends more on what we find within our communities rather than what we find ‘out there,’ or in acquiring a new toy or something else external to our well-being. There is indeed beauty in Paris and Venice, however, there is true beauty in gardens in our own back yards or in nearby parks.
As our neighborhoods are strengthened by increased appropriate infrastructure plus dealing with emotions of elders like loneliness, the more we as an aging group feel a greater sense of satisfaction without venturing out to other lands and without scrounging up the necessary resources in order to get that which pleases us.
We’re there now
For many of us, there’s little in the way of changes we can install that will affect out ability to weather some of the ups and downs of the changing future. We’re too old, infirm, or have too few family or financial resources to guarantee smooth sailing ahead.
As the last few years have shown, however, we’re a resilient group, tough enough to withstand the shifting sands of civil, political, and historical change of unfathomable proportions. We’re here; we’ve made it so far. Expanding a positive attitude is guaranteed to be required to avoid the pitfalls of seeing the glass as half empty.
You alone can be a huge part of your future happiness. Don’t give up now!