Old, Tired, Sick? “There is no medicine as powerful as housing.”

mass of pills with different shapes, sizes and colours
Assorted Pills 3 photo by Parenting Patch is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Are these really the best medicine?

The headline comment above comes from Dr. Margot Kushel, director of the University of California’s San Francisco’s Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative. There’s more:

“By the time homeless people are in their 50s and early 60s, they look much more like other people in their 70s and 80s. The health problems that we normally associate with aging  — vision problems, hearing problems, cognitive impairments, difficulty bathing, difficulty walking — all of those things start much younger.”

Dr Kushel is reflecting on the increasing numbers of homeless seniors in California. With the arrival of the ‘Silver Tsunami’ — the aging of the postwar baby boomers, a crisis has been predicted in many jurisdictions where there was a population explosion of children that arrived with the end of World War II.

Now, many of these aging citizens are least able to cope with the rising cost of housing that is afflicting the entire world, as housing speculators compete with those needing a roof over their heads.

California, the state with the largest concentration of homeless people in America, is a useful source of information for any jurisdiction needing a perspective on homeless issues. If ‘it’ happens anywhere, it may well happen in California first.

Read an extensive article about California’s growing problem of the aging homeless, in CAL MATTERS: The fastest-growing homeless population? Seniors