April 17, 2012
Research Finds Baby Boomers Face Difficulties At Older Age
Connie K. Ho for RedOrbit.com
Shocking new statistics from Bowling Green State University´s National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR) shows that baby boomers will have a difficult time as they grow older.
"The shift in marital composition of the middle-aged suggests that researchers and policymakers can no longer focus on widowhood in later life and should pay attention to the vulnerabilities of the never-married and divorced as well," remarked Lin, an associate professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University, in a prepared statement.
Dr. Susan Brown, a professor of sociology and co-director of the NCFMR, also determined that one in five single baby boomers lives in poverty compared to one in 20 to their married counterparts. Single baby boomers are less likely to have health insurance and twice more likely to be disabled. Furthermore, baby boomers that are divorced have more economic resources than baby boomers that are widowed or never married.
An important concern for the researchers is the fact that baby boomers rarely marry for the first time during their middle ages and so are more likely to remain unmarried indefinitely.
"The economic and health vulnerabilities of single boomers are concerning because boomers are now moving into old age when failing health becomes even more common and severe," commented Brown in the statement. "In the past, family members, particularly spouses, have provided care to infirm older adults. A growing share of older adults isn´t going to have a spouse available to rely on for support. Our figures indicate one in three boomers won't have a spouse who can care for them. And, unmarrieds are less likely to have children who might provide care. These shifting family patterns portend new strains on existing institutional supports for the elderly. As more singles enter older adulthood, we as a society may have to reconsider how we care for frail elders. The family may no longer be a viable option for an increasing segment of older adults."