How the youth is predicted to support the baby boomers when we’re in our 80s 253



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In China, and in many countries around the world, after a child is 18, they are expected to take care of their elders. They pay for their wellbeing – it’s almost a gift to say thank you for raising them. But here in Australia, once children fly the coop, they often leave their parents to fend for themselves. While that can be a good thing and even an acceptable notion for a while, there is the undiscussed component: what will happen when the parent needs to be put into aged care? What happens in their 80s and 90s? Who will take care of them? The government?

Most of us baby boomers are living day by day and are trying to be more positive without thinking of the future in that way. But it is something we’ll eventually need to consider. There’s no secret that we have an ageing population and it’s only expected to grow, but now there is at least something to ease our minds at a time about an uncertain future when we’re being fed information about changes to superannuation, negative gearing and even the results of the Intergenerational Report.

When we’re in our 80s and 90s in 2050, figures suggest that the baby boomer burden will be eased by a surge in children entering the labour force. Demographer Peter McDonald anticipates by 2050, there will be two ­million more children younger than 10 years than previously thought.

More migrants and births will transform the outlook of our generation 20-40 years from now. Professor McDonald told The Australian, “Prior to 2003, the Australian fertility rate had been falling slowly but steadily for at least a decade, so the Treasury people projected that fall would continue, but the opposite happened”.

Now Australian economists are realising the potential of migrants and how they can feed into the general population. Just this week it was announced that five million visas would be given out by the end of 2015, with 240,000 new residents set to live here this year.

Because most migrants arrive at their prime working age of their early 40s, they can reduce the impact of ageing, especially if they have children.

“In the short term,” Professor McDonald says, “a lot of­ ­addit­ional children are also ­expensive, but later on they enter the labour force and pay taxes.

“The costs of ageing are not great for another 20 years or so, when the health costs start to rise as the baby boomer generation hits their 80s.

“It is just at that point that the extra children will be hitting the labour market, and that’s ­fortuitous”.


So tell us, what are you planning to do in your 80s and 90s? Do you think about it? Will your super be able to fund it or will you have to rely on the government? Do you think migration and children can support us in our later years?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. New figures suggest that we aren’t living longer after all, just that the healthy part of our lives is longer.

    3 REPLY
    • yes Gillian that is when the kids come a runnin when its time for the will to be read or the house to be cleared out and sold.. one lady I used to see walking past my house every day carrying a large bag on her shoulder one day she stopped and started talking every day after that we always spent a time having a chat until I found out she goes shopping for her 2 boys tea they would only eat fresh food bought that day.. I hadn’t seen her for a week and went to see how she was .. if she needed anything when I found out she had passed.. I had the door slammed in my face so I found out I had missed her funeral ..her 2 sons sat in the car didn’t even go into the church and then as soon as she was buried left and went home and looked for the will.. totally disgusting that poor lady only wanted someone to talk to and I was that person..

  2. I work in aged care now and a large percentage of families don’t come and even visit their parents. They are ” too busy”.

    17 REPLY
    • Very sad Judy. I get upset. These beautiful people gave up so much to rear their kids and they get ignored as they age. I might add they come around when there is money or property involved though.

    • I work in Aged Care Administration and we have so many beautiful families who visit and care for their loved ones regularly….really depends on the relationships you build with your family throughout your life !

      1 REPLY
      • I totally agree. I do not think money has anything to do with it either. The relationships you build with your parents show children what should happen when we get to that stage. I have no fear that I will not be visited in the nursing home but I hope I drop dead overnight like my father did. Huge shock to the family but easier in the long run!!

    • Agree Anne. I also work in aged care and some residents dont see their families for weeks. But there is also some very caring families that visit on a regular basis.

    • Very sad I hope my family don’t do that I’ve got another 20 years hope something else happens to me instead of old age.

    • Kerry no matter what has happened in life your mother bore you reared you she deserves something back. We all make mistakes, I have but thankfully my kids love me unconditionally with all my faults.

    • I did 14 years in aged care. Come mothers day and they send a bunch of flowers, the loves would much prefer to see their families. Some that visited were very uneasy with the surroundings. I know my kids will look after me but to have gen y to be paid to care for me …help! At present many carers can’t speak clear English. Very frustrating.

    • After visiting my Mum for years in a Hostel, I noticed the lack of visitors who came to see their relatives but come Christmas, the room would be full of faces I had never seen. I have to admit, I was disgusted. Now I visit my muminlaw in Aged care and once again, very few visitors until the Christmas celebrations. I know a few families interstate who come only at Christmas so I understand that completely. Most of the residents though have families living in the same City. I find it heart wrenching.

      1 REPLY
      • But Julie you probably only visit on a certain day. I know I did because I was working but on other days there could be visitors in your home…..

    • My mother-in-law, who passed away on 21 April at the ripe old age of 102 years and 11 months, had been in care in a country area for the past 5 years. I could probably count on one hand the amount of times most of her grandchildren visited her. Sad really.

    • Their parents either have no inheritance to leave them , or in fact do! So they don’t have to do anything but waiting for the windfall of having the parent conveniently die and stop being an intrusion on their precious terribly busy lives And the modern disrespect for the elderly frail useless parent is our National disgrace. And no one will own it. Our next big headline should read ‘ if you are neglecting your elderly relative in care, take a damned hard look at yourself’

      1 REPLY
      • What a fantastic comment – & so correct.

    • Well said Robina. It disgusts me how families treat their older parents.
      Financial and psychological abuse are Mum can I have some money? If you don’t give me some I won’t be able to visit you any more.
      This has happened to a lady well known to me.

    • I agree Robina. Our society is disgraceful. And I believe your money should go to those who really care.

  3. I am moving into a Retirement Village in 18 months time – I will be 66 – have thought about the future – there will be no one to take care of me, if I live to 80 – 90 – there will also be a Nursing Home on site!

    8 REPLY
    • Make sure that you can afford the move into the ACF lnked with the village. You may still have to wait list for a room and with the exit fees from the village and the new RAD payments to get into Aged Care it may not be affordable. I work in Aged Care Administration and see this daily !

    • Yes and I have just been through this with my Mother. I have now started in my real estate a Downsize to a lowest house, ground floor unit, or duplex….but within scooter range of a shopping centre. Once you can’t drive, there are the different organisations to take you shopping, clean etc at a nominal charge. If you run out of milk you can scooter yourself down the road.
      My Mother lost HALF of the sale of her retirement home after 10 years. She had already gone into a nursing home with a bond of $350,000 which was stated would all be returned when leaving. They use that for income, and when she left hit her with a $6,000 exit fee. Stay away from retirement villages. There are heaps of social organisations in your area if you look.
      Also if you think all these people in the village are friendly, well it is the same as anywhere. There are clicks, then they fall out. I know some that moved because of that reason, then didn’t have enough to buy into the market. At least if you own a house in the suburbs you are keeping your market value for when you want to move into a nursing home.
      I do have other suggestions about money too, and family trusts.
      If you want anymore info message me. I am on the Gold Coast.

      1 REPLY
      • Hi Joan I would be so grateful for any info you can pass on, I live in WA and will be 70 in Nov. We keep talking of downsizing, but love our large
        home.We are not on a Pension. (self funded) Thanks so much, Sue

    • Whats RAD, a few years back ,my mum sold her house , Put bond up for $300K Rest into bank, for her expenses as at 90 I thought she deserved not to worry about money, Lost a small bit of pension, and had to pay $15,000 exit fee as she was only there 1 year. My mum looked after my gran for many years, but there is a limit, she kept getting up at night, and falling over & hurting herself, incontinence was a big problem , she had her “own ” chair but kept sitting on every one, and we were polite as the house started to smell but the grandkids didn’t like going, Mum had promised Nan she would never put her in one of those places , I will never promise that, My daughter after divorce at 22,moved in & has nowhere else so she will look after me,

    • I would rather shift to a village that has units to rent.. and take the contract to a solicitor to look over it first.. cant afford to loose money

    • Sheila Bullock…. Maybe you could explain what the acronyms mean. Or submit an article to the site with some basic info on how the system currently works. I hope that’s not perceived as being rude, but the more info everyone has, the more empowered we become.

    • The best option for retirement villages are those operated by non profit organizations. Have done extensive homework in this area & that will be our choice. Already have expression of interest at 3 of them. Many quality nursing homes will care for a patient for 85% of their single pension. This care was given to my mother for about 7 years & it was a wonderful place

  4. This article just shows how unsatisfactory the Intergenerational Report really is. The ink’s not dry on the paper and it has already changed.
    Just reading the daily death notices in my newspaper appears to show most people die in their late 60’s – to late 70’s. I’m basing my future on euthanasia being made legal or at least easier to do (which will also change the intergeneraional report)

    1 REPLY
    • I agree on euthanasia – why end up a poor burdon with no-one to really care for you – give us the choice to end our life with dignity.

  5. I work in age care in the community,I have a client 94 who got quiet ILL 5/6 yr ago her son not married was working over seas came home and takes care of her,The only thing he doesn’t do is PC and they pay a lady to clean once a week. Home help comes at night for PC prepares dinner in the evening for him He has just turned 65,she can’t walk far even with her walker, I know 1 thing can’t see my son giving up his busy life and coming home besides he has a wife and kids 2 hours away.
    There are a number of people in our town elderly with no family, and the older they get the less they see of there children,grandkids.they have there lives and parents don’t come into the equation

    5 REPLY
    • Yeah i cant see any of my kids bothering with me either.. they dont know. I have 12 grand kids .2 come regularly but as they get older they wont care either

    • This is so sad…I have always tried to involve the family in celebrating milestone throughout their lives and ours collectively. I believe we need to initiate communication to break into their routine which may be burdened for all in some way. I will never give up telling them how much they mean to me and my husband of 48 years. We sort of grew up with them actually as we did all the things they liked doing. Maybe this helps?

    • I think it is the sign of the times,have another client who has the most amazing family,she is 90 lives on her own the kids, grandkids ring nearly every day.does a lot for herself I only do PC

      1 REPLY
      • Sorry but what is PC?

        1 REPLY
        • Hi Jill – PC is Personal Care, can include showering, getting out of bed and dressing in the morning the reverse in the evening, maybe toileting, dealing with personal hygiene items.

    • Amber you are right,I know if it was not for my Grand Mother we wouldn’t have the extended family.I implore all of you to keep in touch.Do not wait for your kids and invite them for a meal.I have found they might not be able to come but then they suggest you meet with them at their house or a restaurant.

  6. Migrates not if they are not going to accept the australian way besides the bottom line is no one wants to care for elderly parent too much of a burden. I see it where a parent in a nursing home can live a independently life with children there is loyalty to care for mum or dad.

  7. Home care is hopefully what I expect to be receiving when I get to that age

    1 REPLY
    • Yes downsize, get rid of clutter, give away family mementos to children. Stay in your home with help which is a low cost. Make sure you downsize to near shops and can scooter to them.

  8. All sounds so familiar, my husband is actually going into Aged Care this week as I am finding it
    More and more difficult to help him especially when he falls, he has early dementia, Parkinson’s and brain damage caused when he had a fall, I am now worried about living by my self, our son lives and is settled overseas and our daughter wants nothing to do with us, I must admit I am scared for my future and really don’t know what to do except cry

    5 REPLY
    • Is there a retirement village attached to the nursing home. A lot of older people enjoy village life. You make new friends and there is always activities on. It could be a whole new life for you.

    • Vivienne you have done the right thing for both your husband and yourself. I work in Aged Care Administration and hear these difficult stories every day ! The government is looking at trying to keep people in their own homes much longer. Home care will be the future if not go and look around at ACF and make some decisions for yourself whilst you can.

    • Vivienne i feel for you… ive never thought of it ever before until my mum died in aug. Now i am declining rapidly and the fear and tears are painfully stressful. My husband always a hard worker never stopped just two weeks ago hit a brick wall and has crumbled. Im affraid like you. Cant think straight. Feel like a shit magnet. If anything is going to happen it happening full on every day. Cant sort one thing without another coming at me.

    • Best of luck Vivienne. What a very difficult decision you have had to make. I have to agree with the two previos comments. I know it will be difficult to adjust to not having him at home. Are there 60 & Better or pensioner groups you can join? We are very lucky in our small town with the facilities the ‘oldies’ have here.
      I wish you all the best.

    • Hello Vivienne, where are you living, maybe somebody close can open your door every day,
      We should set up a website for orderly looking friends/ helping each other . Wishing you all the best.

  9. Well once euthanasia becomes legal, problem solved! Children will simply get rid of unwanted parents. Bringing in more migrants, especially from Muslim countries, will bring with it even more trouble. I fear for Australia and am relieved in some ways, that I won’t be around to experience what is ahead for the elderly in 2050.

    14 REPLY
    • yes Anne Gilbert far too many children dump their parents into aged care and never ever come near them again… that to me is totally disgusting…

    • I think what you said Morvyth, is reprehensible. Once Euthanasia becomes legal, we just kill the elderly! It is not in, and I hope it never comes in! Your statement just proved to me how wrong it would be! I have to ask all you people would you be prepared to say to a doctor. Okay time for the eternal needle! Please kill my mother, father, child, husband wife!. That to me is not dying with dignity! Remember someone has to say the word and pull the plug, so to speak, who will make that decision in your family? I believe that only God can make that decision!

      1 REPLY
      • Molly – Euthanasia is only carried out (not in this country of course) if the person concerned wishes it – the decision is made, and has to be acknowledged as a decision by someone “who is of sound mind”. People do not ask for their relatives to be put down! Please read the facts surrounding it. I have an Advanced Directive in place so that if I become terminally ill I can have all treatment stopped – under the circumstances Euthanasia would be something I would welcome in this case!

    • Molly lighten up we should have the choice, I think a lot of people now want legal Euthanasia I know I do.

    • I worry for my children in the future. Who will look after them in their old age? It’s bad enough now.

  10. That’s ok in theory but there is increasing job shortages, so where are all the jobs coming from for these people to have, technology is stripping jobs and we don’t have much industry left in this Country.

  11. I have 3 wonderful adult children who would put their hands up to looking after their father or I when need be — BUT we are both hoping that we check out of this world at 3 score and 10. Good on you if you want to live longer — but for us, we have lived such a beautiful life and feel 70 is good to go. We have thought this from our 20’s. Both of us are now in our 60’s so bring it on.

    6 REPLY
    • Wow I think 70 ish is way to young to pass. I plan to still Br travelling the world in my 70s. But to each his own

    • yeah in a way it is Linda as we are both in good nick — but to be honest much can go wrong with our health etc etc in our 70’s. We would be happy to check out at 70. Dianne we know were we are going — so death does not worry us.

    • Gayle Hoy, my mum is 84 & drives all over the place visiting rellies. Lives alone & does all her own gardening, housework etc. I couldn’t imagine someone in such great health wanting to ‘lay down & die’ in the seventies!! What does your family think of your wishes??

    • hehehe well I am not going to lay down and die Jane — after all we have no say when or how we die — but saying that my wish is to die at 70. My family of course, hope that I will be around for much longer — but I don’t have a problem whatsoever in dying at 70. I know a great many people who live in their 80’s and have a good and wonderful life — but for me — I would prefer checking out at 70… wonderful as my life is today.

  12. Why is it supposed that younger generations going into the workforce will help an ageing population? Is it supposed that they will suddenly take care of their dependant parents? What we need now is more aged care facilities with good and well trained staff. Our Super and savings should not need to be entirely spent on our care in the future. Let us face facts. We will all end up in some nursing facility. Be realistic, people!

    1 REPLY

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