Tsunamis

Of all the people in human history who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now.

Those of us in ministry, family advocacy, or any social service need to brace now for a demographic tsunami. Soon one of our presidents will get the career-limiting task of telling us what we’ve covered our ears trying not to hear for decades now — entitlements will have to be scaled back, retirement age pushed back, pension benefits cut. It’s like our politicians have been playing “Hot Potato” with a demographic timebomb. I’m afraid it will explode all over my daughter’s generation.

I’m worried for the folks who are approaching sixty right now. For sure, I am just as out of luck as they are in terms of traditional retirement, but I have more time to adjust to the change and accept the inevitable. I don’t expect retirement will exist, at least as we know it, in a decade. Of course, I would love to be wrong.

What I hope for as the silver lining out if all this is a renewal of the extended family as a social unit. I think it is a blessing that multiple generations may end up living together as a general practice again. 1950’s Family Value ideals aside, I believe something was lost with the rise of the Nuclear Family. But the transition will take some painful adjustment and require some preparation for those of us in ministry.

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