How Will Healthcare For Seniors Change In Twenty Years
As our society ages, meeting the needs of the growing elderly population will become more challenging. According to Census Bureau calculations, about 3-million baby boomers will reach retirement age each year for approximately the next twenty years. The increase in the number of Medicare-eligible people will require a vast overhaul of a strained system targeted for cuts by the federal government.
Fortunately, those on the forefront of social trends and medical needs are creating changes. These changes will build a bright future for senior health care.
Those reaching retirement age in twenty years can look forward to a system that focuses on individual needs and conditions. Experts are finding that using broad strokes when planning care and treatment is not only inefficient, it is also counterproductive. By creating tailored care plans that meet individual needs and circumstances, medical personnel will address and alleviate many concerns for elderly patients.
In addition to personalized treatment plans, seniors will also receive personally tailored plans for preventing illnesses and accidents. By addressing needs in a proactive rather than reactive way, the medical community will not only save costs; it will dramatically improve the overall quality of life for the populations it serves. This includes the 10,000 baby boomers who become eligible for Medicare each day.
Expanded Public Health Services
Creating opportunities for the elderly to access health services goes hand in hand with empowering seniors to take control of their health. Opening community wellness centers where members receive free or low-cost health screenings, health and wellness education, and medical referrals will provide seniors with a place to turn with issues not addressed by their primary care physicians.
Merger of Health Services and Social Services
Historically medical and social services for senior citizens failed to work together for the benefit of the patient. Elderly often expressed concern that they received a different bit of information from each medical or social worker that they encountered.
The disconnecting of pertinent details not only undermined the confidence the elderly held for these services. It’s also proved to negatively impact the delivery of crucial services to those in need. By creating a cohesive unit to serve seniors, health care systems will increase effectiveness.
New Emphasis on Self Care and Monitoring
The concepts of self-care and self-monitoring are not new. Diabetic patients have practiced self-monitoring of blood glucose and self-administering insulin for decades. In twenty years, seniors will have the means to self-monitor a vast number of chronic conditions as well as provide proper maintenance care for themselves.
Higher Numbers of Senior Citizens will Receive Some Form of Home Health Services
The home health industry experiences significant growth as the population ages. Professionals from various disciplines frequently visit the elderly in their homes. It is not uncommon for therapists, nurses’ aides, nurses, and physicians to work with older adults who have difficulties leaving home for medical care. Additionally, at home, social services will increase as well. These will include services which provide meals, rides, and the delivery of necessities.
Digitalized Medical Records will Become the Norm
Presently, the use of digital medical records is commonplace. However, elderly patients who are not tech savvy perceive no positive impact from the technological advancement of medical record keeping. As the population ages, a large percentage of senior citizens will be familiar with computer usage and willing to embrace technology in medicine.
Expanded Health Information Exchange Networks
By expanding medical professional’s ability to share health information, the potential for improved treatments and medical cures grows as well. With the patient’s permission, medical staff can access specialists globally. Sharing the medical reports allows a higher chance of diagnosis and treatment of conditions that are unfamiliar to local medical personnel.
The Use of Telemedicine will Increase
Along with sharing health information; physicians will take advantage of improved technology to take part in a doctor to doctor or doctor to patient teleconferencing. While this seems like a foreign concept to many elderly patients, it is a convenient way for medical professionals to collaborate. It’s also an efficient way for a doctor and patient to share information.
The Increase of Wearable Sensors
Although, wearable monitors currently exist for certain medical conditions such as heart monitors, an influx of improved technology will allow doctors to keep track of a patient’s specific data for a prolonged period of time. Not just during one particular moment in time.
While change can sometimes be difficult, in the medical field change is necessary for growth and improvement to take place. Many exciting and significant changes within the medical field are on the horizon for senior citizens. Accepting the changes and seeking the positive outcome from these changes will help the elderly enjoy a brighter and healthier future.