10,000, that’s the number of people each day in the US that reach 65 and attain Senior Citizen status. While today’s newest senior may not be the stereotypical elderly person who’s retired, infirmed, or inactive, there are still new needs and concerns facing this aging cohort. We are in the middle of the largest aging population boom ever seen, and like they have always done the “boomers” (those born from 1946 – 1964) are setting new trends in aging in place, need for caregiving services, and end of life care. But under this shadow is another concern, the number of seniors that are already over 65 is already more than our safety net services can support. 2010 Census data reports that of the over 308 million seniors in this county 32% were over the age of 75!
The “Silent Generation”, those born between 1925 to 1945 is currently consuming more resources that they or our public support systems ever planned for (Social Security began in 1937 and Medicare was implemented in 1965). What happens when this new wave, the “Silver Tsunami” of seniors collides with the existing pool of seniors from the Silent Generation? There are not enough dedicated resources for seniors to cover the expense of in-home care, affordable communal or skilled residential care, or even medical management for those expected to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
The Elephant in the Room is that the individual or family is expected to assume the costs of caring for today’s elderly. While the reality is that families are underprepared to care for the current and ever rising “Silver Tsunami”. Social Security, retirement savings, and other assets are not what they once were. Consider that a moderate residential care home in Southern California runs at least $3,000 a month and Social Security benefits averages around $30,000 a year. That means a senior who needs residential care (with little medical assistance) will spend at least $36,000 a year.
Medicare and other government programs provide little to no support for residential care (custodial care). Sure, people may have their homes or other resources, but the reality is that there are already a huge number of seniors with little to no family, few cash-liquid resources, and or a plan on how to handle the challenges of aging. That’s why the Foundation for Senior Care is expanding its Transportation and Care Advocate services beyond Fallbrook and into Temecula. We provide Care Advocacy and service navigation for seniors and families dealing with repeated hospitalizations, loss of the ability to drive, and aging in place situations.
The Foundation for Senior Care has quietly been serving the Fallbrook community since 1979 when we were created to support the rural Fallbrook hospital. Today our mission is to provide programs and resources enabling seniors to enhance their well-being and give them a more meaningful life. The Foundation for Senior Care is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that serves the needs of seniors through our Senior Care Advocacy services, Adult Day Care services at “The Club”, Transportation and a Computer Learning Center. The Foundation depends on business and individual donors to provide these essential services to the community. Our annual Fall Benefit will be held on October 27th at the Vineyard at 1924 in Fallbrook. This vintage circus themed event will feature lively auctions and carnival games; it’s not your regular rubber chicken dinner fundraising event it’s the “Big Show”.
The Foundation for Senior Care is located at 135 S. Mission Rd. in Fallbrook, CA. and can be reached at (760) 723-7570 – online at www.foundationforseniorcare.org. We’re addressing that Elephant in the Room and are working to patch together a safety net for each senior, so they can age safely and with respect. We hope you’ll join our cause and lend your strength.
Rachel Mason, MS., MA is the Executive Director.