Baby Boomer Healthcare Concerns

Baby Boomers are the generation currently retiring, and in the next 10 years, they’ll all have hit retirement age. The population over 65 years old will have tripled from 1980 to 2030. They’re living longer because of so many medical advancements in their lifetime. While this sounds like great news, there are some concerns that the healthcare industry needs to consider.

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The United States has a growing aging population with fewer young adults to care for them and higher healthcare costs. By 2030, 1 in 5 US adults will be of the retirement age. The Medicare-eligible population will be nearly 70 million. And by 2050, it will be 84 million. This is the most people that will ever rely on Medicare and the healthcare system.

Healthcare expenses are so high for these retired people. The out-of-pocket cost for a retired couple is $275,000. And that doesn’t include the cost of long-term nursing care or rehabilitation. Older adults who live alone face even more financial challenges. 12% of them don’t have enough to meet basic expenses, and 25% just meet their basic needs.

But unfortunately, a lot of older people have to live on their own. There are fewer young people to care for all of the retiring Baby Boomers. Older adults will outnumber children under the age of 18 for the first time in US history by 2034. And the current fertility rate among women is 1.7 children, which is less than the 2.1 children needed to replace the population.

Since there’s a lower amount of young people, Baby Boomers don’t have as many children to care for them in their old age. This means more people will rely on nursing homes which adds to out-of-pocket costs. And it also leads to more people living alone in their old age, which increases financial struggles and even health problems.

Over 37 million Baby Boomers will manage multiple chronic conditions by 2030. 25% will live with diabetes, 50% will have arthritis, and 33% will be living with all the health risks associated with obesity. Less than 60% engage in physical activity which only worsens these conditions. If they have so many health problems and are living alone, they’re likely to have more consequences.

They don’t have anyone there to help when they’re experiencing a health crisis or anyone to help manage treatment plans. Baby Boomers use more prescriptions to manage their multiple chronic conditions, but medication noncompliance is a huge problem in the US.

Older people have more trouble reading labels, and memory loss causes them to forget to take their medicine entirely. But prescription non-compliance leads to more hospital and nursing home admissions, and is even fatal especially for old people.

Falls are another problem that old people face when they live alone. It’s the leading cause of injuries among Baby Boomers. 1 in 3 adults fall, but less than half tell their doctors. If they didn’t live alone, they would have someone to help them around the house and who would urge them to see a doctor when they do fall and get hurt.

Older people use healthcare services more than any other group since they experience more health problems. But there’s now an increase in older people who rely on healthcare, and not enough professionals to take care of them. Hospital admissions are set to double by 2030. Yet there’s a projected shortage of 47,000 to 122,000 physicians by 2032.

The demand for advanced practice nurses is also going to increase 31% by 2024. The health industry needs an additional 1 million nurses by 2026 to fill the newly created positions and to replace the nurses that are retiring themselves.

Even though it’s a positive thing that people are living longer, there are problems the health industry needs to address. Since Baby Boomers are living longer, there are more people reaching the retirement age who rely on Medicare.

But out-of-pocket expenses are still high, and it’s even more expensive for the adults who live alone. With less children and less medical professionals, there aren’t enough people to take care of this large retiring population. And the older they get, the more chronic conditions they’ll face which only increases health problems, costs, and demand for care.

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