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Who we are
Author
Jackie Brusch
Publication Date
10 December 2019

Aging at Home: How Technology is Imperative for the Baby Boomer Generation

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.

  • By 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years
  • In 2050, 80% of older people will be living in low- and middle-income countries
  • Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world's population over 60 years will nearly double from 12% to 22%
  • All countries face major challenges to ensure that their health and social systems are ready to make the most of this demographic shift

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: 

  1. Assistance with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). This includes help with things like shopping or cleaning.
  2. Assistance with physical activities of daily living (ADLs). This includes activities such as eating, bathing, or moving around.

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.

  • Get digital. It sounds super obvious, but trust us when we say, your patients are ready for faster access to you. Rather than turning to Dr. Google, give your patients the opportunity to reach you and get access to services faster by examining your goals, and then working backward to reach a digital solution that may fit into those higher level aspirations.
  • Make it mobile. If you don’t have a mobile app, chances are you are missing the opportunity to be more efficient. Whether it’s with precious patient data points, communication between staff members, or something else, mobile can help you add greater efficiency for healthier patients, happier staff, and improved outcomes.
  • Implement IoT and wearables. In a previous blog post, we mentioned that one report predicts the IoT healthcare market will reach $136.8 billion worldwide by 2021 (yes, billion with a B!). With more medical devices entering the market, people are tracking their everyday health or their participation in a clinical trial using these technologies, and it’s leading to an uptick of entrepreneur entrants in the market. The potential for existing organizations to create their own IoT and wearables is vast, and companies like Mobiquity are able to help them meet these goals quickly and cost-effectively.
  • Introduce voice capabilities. Leading companies like Merck and J&J understand that there are millions of Alexa and Google Home users around the world, and this is a new way to reach their audience. How can you incorporate voice into your organization for better engagement and enhanced experiences?
  • Cloud enablement. Cloud adoption, DevOps, and more can help you re-envision engagement, increase scalability, and reduce your total cost of ownership. 
  • Uncover analytics and improve. Data science is just that – a science! Take your business to the next level by measuring engagement and performance across channels, endpoints, and overall solutions to derive meaningful insights that enable better experiences. 

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. 

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