Even if you don’t know someone who’s currently residing in or who may soon require the services of a nursing home and rehabilitation facility like Essex Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, statistics say that at some point you probably will. More than 12 million people per year require long-term care service in one environment or another.

Medicine has come a long, long way in the past century, and healthcare for the elderly is one of the areas that has improved the most. In the rehabilitation and nursing industry, we take great pride in the fact that our elders are now living healthier, more comfortable, more enjoyable lives than were possible for the elderly in the past. These advances also mean that people are living longer today than they ever have before.

According to United Nations World Population Prospects, the average lifespan for North Americans is expected to be more than 15 years longer in 2050 than it was in 1950, and we’re almost three-quarters of the way there. The official start for the American baby boom was in 1944, which means that the largest generation in our population is just now approaching their mid- to late-70s.

Obviously, longer lives and the entrance of a massive population means that we’re in for an unprecedented swell in the elderly demographic. It is estimated that nearly 27 million people will require professional long-term care services by 2050. The lifetime probability of becoming physically or cognitively impaired after age 65 is 68%.

The point is that long-term care will touch the lives of almost every American at some point. So, gain an awareness of the rehabilitation and nursing facilities in your community. Interact with them, volunteer in them, visit them, and, most of all, support them. Chances are that one day they’ll have an important role in your life.