How Baby Boomers Will Change Our Healthcare System

26/09/2016 11:44

As members of the baby boom generation get older and reach retirement age, they present an increasing challenge for our health care system. Higher demand yet fewer doctors and help available means that conventional channels of care may not be as accessible as they deal with conditions as a result of aging. As a country, we are experiencing this already as the quality of care homes has decreased significantly over the last few years. This coupled with budgets being cut and not enough carers to hand has unfortunately left many older people in a very vulnerable situation.

Having lived their lives exercising choice, baby boomers will surely demand the same when it comes to the homes they grow old in. These changes and trends require us to question whether there is still going to be a place for age-specific housing. The rise of personalisation across social care and healthcare needs to be matched by new attitudes to how we enable older people to make care choices and be regarded as consumers rather than recipients of welfare.

In fact, it's been suggested that more seniors than ever would like to remain at home rather than moving to a care home, should they have a choice. Some studies have also found that home care is actually much more effective, and less expensive, then similar care in a nursing home or hospital. Unfortunately, the problem we're faced with today is that our current system, home care and care homes, are not delivering a good enough service to the point where each year over 100,000 elderly are suffering abuse or negligence in either care homes or their own homes. Furthermore, and very sadly, it's been shown that the median period between admission into a care home, or when a carer is appointed, and death is a mere 13 months. In today's day and age, and with the great technology available that can do so much for us, this really shouldn't be the case.

Actually, much thanks to new technology solutions, and the fact that technology to help seniors age at home has gone far beyond grab bars and fall-alert buttons worn around the neck, new sophisticated products on the market, from medication dispensers that can report to a family member when their loved one forgets to take a pill to shoes embedded with GPS trackers to find cognitively impaired wanderers, I see no reason why people in later life couldn't remain at home, at least for much longer, rather than being taken into a care home.

And yes, our healthcare system is under a lot of pressure due to increased demand, but I really do believe that applying more efficient care models, coupled with improvements in technology and care itself, will increase healthcare's supply capacity enough to offset the extra demand created by the boomers.

Working in healthcare and experiencing the care crisis first hand, I'm very proud to be in the process of launching a platform for home care, a solution that will actively help to cure the care crisis.

Our unique technology will allow seniors to move from care-homes to real-homes, staying in the comfort of their communities through innovation. We will provide a platform where seniors, or their loved ones, can organise for care professionals to visit them, when and where needed, on demand, 24/7. Through data and AI we will be able to predict if a senior is going to become unwell, and help to avoid any deterioriations in health. Critically, we will revolutionise connectivity between seniors, families, caregivers and healthcare providers.

With smartphones, the power of healthcare can be in the palm of your hand, the means just need to be created.