Physician’s Money Digest/New America Media, News Analysis, Eric Anderson, MD, Posted:Nov 28, 2012
SAN DIEGO–The U.S. population is growing steadily older, and just as the country isn’t prepared for such a large, older population, individuals are overwhelmingly underprepared, according to the speakers at this year’s Gerontological Society of America (GSA) meeting held here earlier this month.
Steven P. Wallace of the Center for Health Policy Research at the University of California, Los Angeles, cut to the chase, stating, “This is the first era in history in wealthy countries where most children born will live to see the age 65.”
Speaking to general press and ethnic media journalists attending the conference, Wallace added, “Last year the first baby boomers — born 1946 — turned age 65, which is the start of what will be a rapid doubling of the elderly population.”
How rapid? America’s elderly population will double to 81 million by the year 2040. And as an 80-year-old retired geriatrician, I see little evidence we are ready for them.
Also addressing the reporters was Robert Harootyan, manager of research at Senior Service America, Inc. He views the way that boomers are adding 72 to 78 million to the U.S. population over the next 18 years as the way a pig passes through a python. (His audience smiled at his terminology, perhaps because they are not yet that old.)
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