A study released by the Metropolitan Policy Program at Bookings Institute in Washington, DC highlights the extreme growth that is happening in the aging senior population across the United States, specifically in Texas.
The report compiled by the Bookings Institute drew from data released in the 1990, 2000, and 2010 US censuses. The age classifications according to the study are as follows: “younger population” (under age 45), “older population” (age 45 and above), “pre-senior population” (age 55-64), and “senior population” (age 65 and above).
“Pre-Seniors” and Seniors
Between 2000 and 2010, the metropolitan area of Austin experienced a 63% increase in the “older population”, anyone 45 years and above, the second highest growth rate of any area behind Raleigh, North Carolina.
Similarly, Austin saw a 53% increase in the number of seniors, those ages 65 and up, in the area over the 10 year period.
Lastly and most importantly, Austin ranked #1 with the fastest growing “pre-senior” population of any area in the nation. The number of “pre-seniors”, those aged 55-64, in the Austin-Round Rock area grew 110% between 2000 and 2010, a massive explosion in the city’s aging population of Boomers.
Addressing the Growth
In order to address the growing population of aging Texans, the state needs to begin addressing the so-called “Silver Wave”. This June, Texas state legislature passed a bill, signed by Governor Rick Perry, that would allow Texans to use their life insurance settlements to help pay for Medicaid long term care expenses.
The bill is a step in the right direction of helping people plan for their long term care needs. Unfortunately, it does not address the entire issue. The life settlements used may not cover the entire cost of care, leaving the claimants stuck again with no way to pay for care, other than forfeit all of their assets, enroll in Medicaid, and move into a nursing facility.
Fortunately, Long Term Care Insurance offers a way for people to safeguard their assets from this potentially devastating situation and receive substantial assistance when paying for care. Despite the hype about rate increases, policies can still be affordable. Even a small amount of coverage will help you tremendously in the future.
Is There Room?
Finding a good facility that provides care can often be as taxing as paying for the care itself. Not to mention the fact that with the number of Texans with Alzheimer’s or dementia expected to triple in the next 35 years, a lack of beds is a major concern for seniors across Texas. Fortunately, the state is leading the way in senior housing construction and assisted living facilities continue to be built in various cities.
US Memory Care is one of the major players opening up a number of facilities across the state over the next several years. They recently opened a memory care center in Colleyville and are currently in the process of building 2 more, one in Cedar Park outside of Austin and one in Houston.
The growing population necessitates a shift in industry and Texas has quickly caught onto the need for more assisted living facilities and memory care centers. Although these facilities provide seniors with a place to live, that isn’t the only thing needed in the age of the Baby Boomers.
Texas communities need to begin brainstorming different ways to provide resources to seniors who live at home, as the trend of “aging in place” continues to grow. A long road of long term care issues lie ahead, and to face them successfully, education and preparation are key.