This metaphor is frequently used to refer to the very large number of aging baby boomers and the anticipated impacts that this will have on society.
It creates quite an interesting image.
You can just imagine this massive aging wave starting to build and then being unleashed on the world.
But I read a really interesting post the other day by Professor Vernon on the University of Manchester website which made me consider this idea.
His post was about how people were aging and the impacts it will have on society. There was one comment he made in particular that really stood out for me. He said;
“The relentless expansion of an ageing population is not the demographic ‘time-bomb’ I learned of as a student. It is a steadily rising population tide driven by reductions in fertility and successful survival into later life.”
My interpretation of his comment was that the silver tsunami we are all expecting and the impacts that it will have won’t come towards us like a massive wave that will knock us off our feet.
Our aging population and their needs will be more like a bucket being constantly filled by a very large hose that just won’t stop.
The bucket will just keep filling and filling.
We may not notice it at first but the water will eventually begin to spill out all over the place. Next thing you know we’re up to our knees in water without any plan on how to manage all the incoming water.
Here are just a few places that I think need some immediate attention now before this water starts to spill;
Like it or not, with age comes more health concerns. In a study of people over the age of 65, they found that 56% were dealing with more then one chronic disease (heart disease, congestive heart failure, and diabetes). To effectively manage these conditions people require access to medicines and physicians. Our healthcare systems are already stretched thin so how will we manage all these increased demands?
As more people become unable to drive, demands on transit will increase. And this won’t be just for ‘regular transit’ either. There will be an increase to support individuals with mobility issues.
We all know how long it takes to get improvements or changes to transit systems put in place and that these changes don’t just happen overnight.
More and more baby boomers are planning on staying in their homes – often referred to as “aging in place”. Many government healthcare systems are also supporting this idea. However, there needs to be a significant injection of available certified homecare workers in place before the demand starts to hit.
My father in law lives independently at the age of 84 in his own home. Fortunately, he is in good health however trying to find good, trustful home services for ongoing maintenance around his home has been a challenge.
As well, changes and modifications to homes in order to enable people to live safely are also going to be necessary.
We need some incentive to try and get more of these services easily accessible, affordable and available. They also should be appropriately screened to ensure that they can be trusted in providing services to older people.
These are just a few of the areas that I think need immediate attention in order to manage some of the challenges we may face.
I know that many organizations are starting to tackle some of these challenges. I just hope that they are able to get to them before the water starts spilling all over the place.
This article originally appeared on Booming Encore and was reprinted with permission.
Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore – a website and social media network dedicated to providing information and inspiration to help Baby Boomers create and live their very best encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and personally tries to embrace Booming Encore’s philosophy of making sure every day matters. For daily updates to help you live your best encore, be sure to follow Booming Encore on Twitter and join them on Facebook.