The Silver Tsunami

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After the bombs were dropped on innocents and warriors alike in Japan, after the photographs of mangled bodies in Germany were published in journals around the world, after an estimated 3% of the world’s population had perished, people coming of age in the United States of America looked around and found their factories intact and their republic still viable.

To avoid the economic fallout of WWI, President Roosevelt and Congress had created the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. Now known as the G.I. Bill, this legislation provided a range of benefits for white, male World War II veterans that included access to higher education, low-interest-rate mortgages, and the world’s best medical care. 

Brimming with pride and hope and seemingly endless real estate to exploit between two great oceans, Americans began to procreate in record numbers starting in 1946. White men would dominate the workforce and form unions and venture out into the world as entrepreneurs and profiteers. White women began exiting the workforce to raise children.

People of color, oppressed yet resilient, created urban communities, as best they could given the pervasive lack of access, and also had children in record numbers.  Much more must be written about the painfully and patently unfair policies that segregated black Veterans endured after the war that they helped to win, and I promise to return to this topic in the future.

The high birth rate would last until 1963/1964. Within 18 years, 76 million people were born in the United States of America and the media would dub them “The Baby Boomers.” The Boomers would become an economic, social and political force to be reckoned with.

The eldest Baby Boomers, now in their mid-seventies, will reach 80 in 2026. This first wave of octogenarians will be followed by several million more each year for 18 years. More people needing physical assistance, more people running out of their life savings and depending upon social services, and more people dealing with physical, legal and social problems than have never existed before in human history will soon flood our governmental programs.

As one of the younger Boomers, I have been observing the elderly for 30 years. Specifically, I have been thinking about their legal problems as it relates to the onset of diseases that affect their brains, expressed in phrases like “dementia” or “neuro-cognitive impairment.” I have been wondering, for decades, how best to advocate and/or protect the elderly who are mentally “not as sharp” as they used to be. I have been worrying about my future and yours.

California, indeed this nation, is not prepared for the Silver Tsunami that will arrive in 2026. Not by a long shot. 

Dr. Daniel Plotkin, a Gerontologist at UCLA, recently commented at a continuing legal education program for Los Angeles attorneys that medical internships and fellowships in gerontology are not being filled. We are at risk of running out of adequately trained doctors for the elderly already.

Skilled nursing homes are having difficulties with finding and hiring sufficient staff to even stay open due to the patient to staff ratio requirements. Whether you believe that the penalties for violations of the health codes are too severe or too lenient, be prepared for longer waitlists and compromised care at every level unless something drastically changes.

And then there are the California probate courts. “Impending Disaster” accurately describes the Los Angeles County probate courts today and it’s not even the worse of them.

Ironically, and strangely enough, the judicial officers who preside over the probate courts refer to themselves as “Super Fiduciaries” and yet remain oblivious and unaccountable for their decisions. Children and parents being kidnapped and kept away from each other is not unusual anymore, thanks to the Super Fiduciaries. Incapacitated and dependent elders remaining in the care and custody of their abusers is routinely condoned, again, thanks to the Super Fiduciaries. Something is amiss.

The Silver Tsunami is coming. We, the Boomers, have time to reform and fix the probate courts and this newsletter will tell you why we must do so and offer suggestions about how to stop the abuse and trauma being doled out by the so-called “Super Fiduciaries.”.