Between 80% and 90% of all babies born in developed nations today will live beyond the age of 65. Not only are older people a larger proportion of the population, this demographic will grow rapidly into the future. By 2050, 22% of the world’s population will be 60 and older.
Positioning health systems to address demographic changes and implement new knowledge is a basic responsibility of a government to its people. Elected officials have a central role in establishing partnerships between the government and private sectors so the aging global population will thrive.
Industrialized countries have a tremendous track record in defeating, preventing and treating disease, extending life expectancies in the 20th century during the antibiotic era. Small pox and polio are two examples of the diseases largely eradicated.
Public health and modern medicine created today’s longevity bonus. An aging population is a major positive factor in the wealth of countries, if healthcare costs can be contained. Economically, healthy aging is a considerable factor in controlling costs.
The following five areas, briefly summarized below, are critical components of any medical care model that will respond to the aging of society and focus on optimizing health at all stages of life:
• Paying more attention to prevention and public health; moving from hospital, acute care and institutional care to community-based care.
• Including new models for senior care that offer cost-effective approaches to optimizing health outcomes within a coordinated continuum of prevention and care that includes home, community, clinic, hospital and long-term care settings.
• Preventing chronic disease and senior risks, such as falls and frailty, in older adults through individualized plans to optimize health within a healthy environment.
• Varying models of care and effective targeting for the diverse, older population.
• Offering supportive care for seniors who choose to age in place at home. Community-based personal care should be planned for and delivered across a variety of settings including home, community and institutions.
By building the right model, we can increase societal benefits while decreasing healthcare costs to our citizens. By working together, we have the opportunity to create health care systems based on healthy aging.
At Home Instead Senior Care, we are actively changing the face of aging. That means fundamentally changing the way we think about growing older. As a society, we cannot continue to promote stereotypes and cling to pessimistic assumptions about aging. A more virtuous response is to identify the opportunities presented to society at a time when many citizens are enjoying a longevity bonus. We have a tremendous chance to learn from the wisdom available from our seniors. While there are challenges associated with an ageing society, we must embrace the opportunities. There are significant benefits to an ageing world, but they require smart policies. Let’s focus on healthy aging to facilitate healthy and participative living in age-friendly environments and to realize the social and economic potential of elders.
For more information, please contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office at 541-734-2700.