The baby boomer generation is growing old; all of them; all at the same time. The unanticipated consequences of the boom, which for the first few decades of their lives were a boon to the economy, have shifted. Instead of a country over flowing with young, healthy workers, we are a country of elders. And they are in bad shape. The boomers have high rates of cancer and obesity, they lost much of their wealth in the recent recession, and are increasingly dependent on social programs that are dwindling and under sequester.
They are also increasingly homeless. According to a report by NPR, the average age of a homeless person in the United States is 47. Life on the streets is hard, unsafe, physically demanding, and exposed to the elements. Life expectancy is short.
Homelessness is growing. These are our elderly, our veterans, our mentally ill, and our most unfortunate. Try to remember that the true face of homelessness is not standing, drug-ridden at the corner with a sign asking for money to help them score, but hidden in the edges of our view, doorways, libraries, clinics, taking up what small space they can.
Try not to look away. Let's try to start seeing homelessness before we look around and find that we have neglected an entire generation, left them on the ice. Let's keep good care of our elders.
To Locate a Homeless Shelter Near You:
NPR's recent story on homelessness and aging in America:
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