The word Endemic has lost much of its impact from overuse. Its usage has run the gamut from gauging outbreaks of swine flu, to the regularity of beleaguered FCAT scores.
An unfeigned endemic, however, is the occurrence of older adults finding themselves homeless, reports The Examiner.com. In Miami and surrounding South Florida counties, there exist daily episodes of our aging citizens ending up on the streets. Unlike our resilient youth, an older person encounters nearly insurmountable challenges when attempting to rebound toward stabilization.
According to a recent newspaper article in the Homeless Voice, writer Tamara McCullough identifies the “Baby boomer booming homeless rate.” McCullough cites a report by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, which states, “Homelessness among baby boomers will likely increase by one-third as the U.S. Population ages.”
Moreover, McCullough references a study from the Metro-Dade Homeless Alliance 2010 Homeless Count and Census, which notes, “The counted 50-59 age group is the largest sector representing 32 percent of the homeless population. The 40 age group was behind with 30 percent.”
Florida’s Economic Forecast
As we approach the 4th quarter of 2010, the once dynamic American economy looks dubious, at best. The Florida unemployment rate is quickly nearing 12 percent and any signs of recovery remain speculative.
Aging adults face an uncertain future as many boomers have lost their jobs and unemployment payments are paltry in comparison to their once lucrative salaries. Unlike their parents, boomers cultivated an undisciplined lifestyle, spending most of what they earned and often living beyond their means, tentatively existing just a few paychecks away from homelessness. When you factor in a lack of savings, then disaster becomes imminent.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, Eric Morath states, “42% of all individuals filing for bankruptcy were between the ages of 45 and 64 in 2007 and that older Americas are filing for protection from creditors at a much faster rate than younger adults.”
“Bankruptcy filings are increasing fastest among individuals between the ages of 55 and 64. From 2002 to 2007, the percentage of filers in that category grew 65%. By comparison, the demographic group that experienced the largest percentage drop in bankruptcy filings was Americans 25 and younger, down 60% in 2007 from 2002.
“This significant demographic uptick in older bankruptcy filers has outstripped the aging of the general population as a whole,”
Sadly, boomers neglected to save as their parents did, and retirement accounts remain meager. The travesty of the economy has caused housing investments to deteriorate and the thought of selling homes and using the equity to augment retirement has disappeared.
Despite these regretful events, many boomers have fared well. The generation of Hippies, Woodstock, Vietnam, Civil Rights, landing on the moon and the sexual revolution, created not only a major chasm between the have’s and have not’s, but now face the most daunting challenge of their lives: Retirement and/or homelessness.