It's no secret that most of us are unaware of the real healthcare issues that can arise not only as we get older, but as our parents get older.  Why is this? Maybe because growing older or aging in place is generally not a topic that people discuss until it is too late.  Unfortunately, when a healthcare crisis occurs, the lack of information on resources available to them leaves the families frustrated and fed up with the healthcare system.  It has been estimated that 70% of Americans who reach the age of 65 or older will need some type of long term care for at least three years during their lifetime. Forty percent of those run the risk of entering a nursing facility for rehabilitation or even permanent placement.

Currently, the fastest growing part of the population is comprised of individuals 65 years or older. In 2012 there were an estimated 5.9 million people who fell into this category. By 2050 it is expected to increase to 19.4 million and statistics show that for the next 19 years, the baby boomer generation will be retiring at a staggering pace.  The CDC estimates that individuals who utilize long term care services, in home care giving, nursing facilities or residential care homes may increase from 13 million people in 2000 to 27 million in 2050.  Much of this increase is due to the fact that more services are needed as the population grows older (HHS, 2003).  However, keep in mind that these services are not limited to older adults and people of all ages may be in need of these long term care services at one time or another.  With all of this information gathered, it is easy to see that this is going to put an enormous burden on the healthcare system as well as resources and services available.

Several families today are beginning to understand the struggles of trying to take care of or find care for their aging parents.  One Gallup study found that 72% of caregivers are children caring for their aging parents.  51% of these caregivers are between the ages of 18 and 49.[Gallup Healthways Wellbeing Survey, Most Caregivers Look After Elderly Parent; Invest a Lot of Time, July 2011] - Updated: November 2012. Keep in mind, that often times those family members work, have children still at home or may even have health care issues themselves. Trying to juggle life situations while being a caregiver for a loved one can be overwhelming and most people find access to healthcare information very limited.  This is why we feel it is important to open up real dialog when discussing what it looks like to age in place and not just what it means to get older.