I spent the last two days at the What’s Next Boomer Summit in Chicago, an impressive gathering of 400 organized by Mary Furlong. Over the next 30 years, the population of those turning 65 is expected to double. It’s a daunting number, one that will transform the way companies do business in this country. Many of those attending the Summit were heads of start-up companies with products geared towards the aging industry. One woman is launching a service that allows grandparents to better engage grandchildren over Skype by developing games they can play together. Another is pioneering a device that monitors older people living alone that doesn’t require them to press a button if they fall. It automatically tracks their motions as part of a passive system. An owner of a facility discussed a new approach to treating Alzheimer’s patients, using the gentler term, “memory care.” It’s impressive how many people are using innovative ways to address the many issues that will surface as so many people enter old age. I look forward to writing several articles about this emerging, and fast growing industry, one that not only will be profitable, but hopefully will present some proactive solutions to the vexing problem of elderly care giving.
I spent the past week researching the state of long-term health care for an article I wrote for The Fiscal Times. I’ll post it here once it runs. In the wake of decisions by insurance companies to significantly hike the costs of premiums, and to start charging women more for long-term health care insurance, my piece explored the potential effects, especially on single women. I was astounded at the statistics. In 2011, national health care spending for long-term care services was $210.9-billion, almost two-thirds paid by the Medicaid program. As the population most in need of care, those ages 65 and older, doubles in the next 30 years, and fewer are able to afford long-term health care insurance, this is surely to become a major issue. Next week, I’ll be heading to the What’s Next Boomer Summit in Chicago, moderating a panel on career reinvention late in life. I’m quite curious whether this topic will be a subject of discussion, and what the experts have to say about it. As someone who reports about aging issues, this is a topic I plan to closely follow.