C. Michael Woodward, MPH
Arizona Geriatrics Society Journal
VOLUME 20 NO. 2
Much attention has been given in recent years to the “silver tsunami” of aging U.S. Baby Boomers. Born between 1946 and 1964, the Boomers are the largest cohort of Americans in history, numbering more than 77 million (Tomasa, 2013). The federal government, especially the nation’s health care and supportive services systems, has braced itself for the incoming tidal wave. As the Boomers grow older, more and more of them will need health care and long-term assistance.
It is hard to imagine a greater strain being placed on already shrinking resources, but by 2030, Medicare recipients will have increased to 79 million from the 44 million it was serving before the first wave of eligible Boomers hit the system in 2007. Similarly, Social Security claims will be paid to more than 84 million people, up from 50 million.
The challenges facing our health system are not only about financial and physical resources, but about compassion and cultural competence as well. Among the influx of these older adults are a disproportionate number of individuals from marginalized populations with unique and sometimes substantial needs beyond the typical concerns of health and aging…