This article on the “graying of California,” published by the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 7, 2018, explains the impending senior crisis and highlights the urgent need for us all to mobilize in support of seniors. Part of the newspaper’s “Next California” series on state issues leading up to the November midterms, the stellar reporting is filled with infographics and alarming predictions, backed by new research and expert interviews.
A few key points:
- Seniors will be California’s fastest-growing population. Between now and 2026, the number of Californians 65 and older is expected to climb by 2.1 million, according to projections by the state Department of Finance. By contrast, the number of 25- to 64-year-olds is projected to grow by just more than half a million; the number of Californians younger than 25 will grow by a mere 2,500.
- The demographic shift will place enormous strain on the state’s already fragile network of long-term services and supports, including in-home aides and skilled nursing facilities.
- The fastest-growing population of homeless people is among older adults.
- As the population of low-income seniors swells, demand for safety-net programs for the elderly—such as financial assistance for low-income seniors or payments to in-home caregivers—is likely to balloon.
- Despite their universality, aging issues have never inspired much of a political rallying cry. In part because they force people to contemplate their own mortality—never an easy sell—and also offer little immediate upside.
- The Employment Development Department projects that the state will need 250,000 more personal care aides by 2026, a growth rate of 40%.
- Just under 2% of residents are insured for long-term care, according to the state Department of Insurance.