According to a recent article in Forbes, the vast bulk of care for those who are older is provided by younger friends and family. For our generation, that fact will create caregiving shortfalls for many as we age. Why? Because the population in the prime caregiving ages of 45-64 will grow by only 1 percent from 2010 to 2030, while the numbers of Boomers who will reach 80 and over during the same time period will grow by nearly 80 percent. Wow.
On top of this is the fact that one in six baby boomer women do not have children. Without children to begin watching out for you, taking up the slack in areas of your life where you need help, who will be there for you? Many of us will face the option of hiring help at home or moving to a residential facility designed for older people – or turning to one another for the day-to-day support that’s akin to a family member’s involvement. And the best way to achieve that sort of supportive relationship with friends is through a shared living arrangement. With same-aged roommates, we can rely on the one who’s the better driver to be the designated driver on errands and evening outings; we can keep an eye on a friend who might be susceptible to bad financial decisions; we can trade chores and responsibilities with the roommate who’s the best cook, and continue to eat healthy, delicious meals long beyond the point where we personally feel the motivation to prepare meals from scratch.
Other factors such as the high rate of divorce and our lengthening lifespans play into the equations. Click here to read the full article by Howard Gleckman.