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The Age Wave That Will Never Happen

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By Steve Moran

There has been a lot of talk about how Americans specifically and the world population is living to a much older age. There has been more than a little speculation that science will allow us to crack the longevity ceiling of around 115 years.

Now this . . . according to an article at Bloomberg we are going backward. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The average 65-year-old male will die shortly before hitting age 86

  • The average 65-year-old female will die shortly before hitting 88

  • These life expectancies are around 6 months shorter than last year’s prediction, primarily because of lifestyle choices

  • The data suggests that Boomer, Gen Xers and Millennials are doing worse

  • While from year to year the rates can be fairly volatile, the reality is that the longevity rise has slowed way down

  • When Millennials reach age 65 they should still expect to have a few more years than we Boomers will get

  • If you are a wealthy American you can expect to live 14 years longer than the poorest Americans

For Senior Living at Best a Ripple

You might be saying “so what, there are still going to be a big bunch of Boomers who are going to make it.” I would not argue this point. That being said, there are at least 5 significant challenges:

  1. We are not as healthy as earlier generations. While we have access to amazing medical breakthroughs that have in fact extended longevity, many of us Boomers are working hard to counteract science with poor lifestyle choices (eating too much, eating the wrong things and not getting enough exercise).

  1. It is likely that access to world class health care will decline. We are really struggling with how to pay for healthcare today. As the Boomers turn into elders, access will become a much bigger problem. We will wait longer for appointments and treatments, access to drugs will be more difficult; It seems likely there will not be enough physicians to treat us.

  1. There are a bunch of really smart folks who are working on ways to keep elders at home longer rather than in a congregate living situation. This includes technology and a rapidly growing sharing economy.

  1. While there will still be lots of for Boomers with money to pay for senior living, there will be bigger cohorts that just can’t afford what we are building today.  

    This group of folks who have some financial resources but not enough for today's product represents a huge challenge for the industry, but it also represents a huge opportunity for those providers who figure out how to embrace it.

  1. There is strong evidence that Boomers will not be so enthusiastic about the product we are providing today.

And now, we Boomers are going to do double damage to the industry by not living as long as we were supposed to. 

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