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The Silver Tsunami – An Unprecedented Societal Shift

Written By: Weyman Perry
Weyman Perry

Weyman Perry

Recipe for a Perfect Storm. . . Take a POPULATION GROWTH bomb and mix it with…. A dramatically INCREASING LIFESPAN.

Our World is Getting Older
From now on, population growth comes from more elders and middle aged people than from infants. By 2050 we will move from 1 in 5 people being older than 60 to 1 in 3 on our planet.

The U.S. is Getting Older

  • In 1900 the average lifespan in U.S. was 47 years.
  • The average lifespan today is 79 years (77 for males, 82 for females).
  • The U.S. ranks 35th in lifespan of 168 reporting countries – Japan is number 1.

U.S. Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964)

  • The first boomers turned 65 in 2011; 10,000 a day are now turning 65.
  • Their income is higher than their parents; many of them have more than one home.
  • Baby boomers also have non-traditional family structures. They have higher educational levels which means they are more knowledgeable, demanding, and challenging.

Unprecedented Implications for Society

  • Financial – billions of dollars in motion.
  • Familial – the family structure is changing.
  • Political – seniors increasing their political impact
  • Community – changes in services needed and how they are delivered.
  • Healthcare Services – the historical delivery structure is unsustainable.

Unprecedented Implications for Society – Family Structure

  • There is a growing number of non-traditional families – senior adults needing increasing family support make this more complex.
  • It is not unusual to have five living generations within a family.
  • It is increasingly common to have separated and/or bridged family units due to divorce, remarriage and the geographical mobility of families.
  • It is becoming more common for family members to become caregivers within families.
  • It is increasingly common for elderly parents to live with an adult child or vice versa.

Unprecedented Implications for Society – Politics

  • 72% of citizens between 65 and 74 vote.
  • Seniors are more likely to write or telephone their representatives about issues that are important to them.
  • The influence of senior organizations is growing as their numbers continue to swell.
  • This will have dramatic impact on public policy in the future.