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What is the Quiet Crisis in Washington?

Blog February 24th, 2015
quiet-crisis

The Quiet Crisis encompasses the next ten years, so get ready. It’s referred to by many other names, “Silver Tsunami,” “Age Wave,” et cetera, but what it really comes down to is the Baby Boomers’ retirement.

No surprise, the Boomers are retiring soon; as soon as 2025. The part that’s actually a surprise, is no one is prepared for it. There are simply not enough senior housing communities available; many today have year-long wait lists – which, if you need someone to help you with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) or the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), then you cannot wait a year!

My Northwest reporter, Rachel Belle, delineated into this further with her recent article on the senior housing crisis. And although she starts with the forewarning that the number of seniors in 2025 is going to double, she notes that this isn’t simply a Washington State problem, but a nation-wide problem.

She’s not wrong.

Recent Statistics from the HSS for Noninstitutionalized Adults

As the “heading” suggests, these statistics reflect the elders who are not already in a senior housing community of some kind. According to the combined data from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), 3 out of every 10 seniors (aged 75 and over) were in fair to poor health – this accounts for millions of people in 2012.

As we determined in a previous blog, the rates of disabled persons is rising and it doesn’t help with the hours spent sitting or the lack of good nutrition. The CDC reports further evidence this, saying that people “aged 45-69 were three times as likely to be unable to work due to health reasons.” This is a shockingly high statistic.

In addition, these findings determined that 11% of seniors (over the age of 75) needed help with the Activities of Daily Living, and 20% needed help with the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living.

Note that – so far – these are all things that senior housing communities offer as help. Almost every level of senior care community provides assistance with ADLs, even the independent living areas. This is all the more reason why we need more senior living.

Of course, even less surprising, is the statistics that reveal why and how seniors end up injured or in need of help with ADLs or IADLs.

According to the government’s reports, the four leading causes of medical injury were:

  1. Falls (over 13 million in 2012)
  2. Overexertion (almost 5 million)
  3. Being injured by a person or object (3.8 million)
  4. Transportation (3.7 million)

The senior living communities cover all those bases to make sure your loved one does not suffer from any such injuries.

With most facilities being one-story buildings and extremely senior accessible, falls become extremely unlikely. Even if your elder does fall, someone will know about it rather than if they were living on their own.

Overexertion is often caused by performing the ADLs someone else should be doing for them, and that’s what the staff are for.

Being injured by a person or object is less common when our elders are living in a senior living facility that has 24-hour security and their peers as neighbors.

And lastly, most housing communities have their own transportation for seniors, so you never need to worry about your elder behind the wheel.

With all the good these senior living communities bring, it’s shocking that we don’t have more of them for our aging elders.

They call it the Quiet Crisis, but it is shaping up to be a Silver Tsunami with heightened risks of being hospitalized and having no where to turn.

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