A new article in Forbes highlights the numbers behind the aging American population and what that means for the country as a whole. As people get older their needs change. Those needs often require outside assistance, and much of the eldercare services provided every year come from friends or family members of an elderly person who provide that service without compensation.
In 2011, about 40 million Americans provided some kind of unpaid eldercare services to a friend or family member aged 65 or older. However, those numbers may soon begin growing dramatically.
Population data shows that by the year 2050 the number of people age 65 and older will increase by about 135% from the numbers that existed in the year 2000. That means, given current information, close to 100 million Americans will be providing some type of eldercare services to those elderly people without receiving compensation.
Additionally, for every one person aged 65 and older in 2000, there were 5.1 people between the ages 16 to 64. These are the people who typically provide unpaid eldercare services. However, by 2050 that number will drop to less than three people for every single person age 65 and older.
This means that as time goes on there will be more elderly people in need of care and fewer people available to provide that care. How the country deals with this looming eldercare crisis will likely dramatically affect both politics and public policy in the coming decades.