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As we age, healthcare becomes increasingly important. Not only for ourselves, but for our aging loved ones, too. Healthcare providers and clinical researchers around the world must prepare to meet the demands of older patients. And the time to start is now.
The Aging Population is Growing Globally
The World Health Organization (WHO) offers these statistics about the aging population, which prove that healthcare for this demographic is an area of focus that the industry must prepare for now.
Statistics Show Older Patient Populations Want to Age at Home
Did you know that most Baby Boomers would like to stay in their own homes, or at least in their own communities, as they age? Nearly three-quarters of all respondents in a recent AARP survey felt strongly that they want to stay in their current residence as long as possible.
Gone are the days when most elders will move to a retirement village away from their communities. This is now the exception rather than the rule. Most people will not have the resources or the desire to move to Florida or its equivalents; communities cannot rely on “exporting” to meet the needs of an aging population.
But what level of care will elders need if they’re aging at home? Research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states that long-term care professionals generally distinguish two types of supportive care needs for the frail:
This research also states that, among the 31 million noninstitutionalized elderly, 1.8 million have IADLs and 3.3 million have ADLs. Of the 3.3 million requiring more in depth care, 1.5 million need help with three or more ADLs, indicating a very high level of need that requires extensive home care or institutional care.
Innovation is Desperately Needed, and Patients Embrace it
More patients are doing their best to stay healthy, but caregivers can’t watch their sick loved ones around the clock. So, what do caregivers do to get their loved ones the support they need? The current climate has us responding in a variety of ways to make up for what our health systems lack.
For example, an AARP study found that today, 14% of adults living in someone else’s household are a parent of the household head, up from 7% in 1995. The research from NCBI shows that 1.4 million elderly are cared for in nursing homes. These options neglect the wishes of the patients, who want to age at home. Therefore, the industry needs to adapt and create innovative ways to meet their needs while still providing them with the right level of care based on their specific health status.
Supportive Technology is Available
The elderly of 2030 will be much better educated, with a college graduation rate twice (and high school drop out rate one-third) that of the current generation of elderly, according to the NCBI. This, plus the added level of technology prowess that this demographic will possess, points to greater adoption of technology, and organizations that get ahead of the curve now will see the impacts much faster than their competitors.
Here are a few ways that your organization can prepare now.
If you’re ready to meet the needs of the aging population, and are ready to prepare for meeting their needs for years to come, let’s talk.
Give us your information below to start the conversation.