The Aging Population
After 16 years of war and depression, World War II ended in 1945, and more babies were born between 1946 and 1964 (78 million) than ever before and never since, which gave way to the name “baby booms”. The first stage of the boom occurred during 1945-1950, and the second was from mid 1950-1964. Financial advantages turned out to be plentiful after the war; and this generation of baby boomers became known as the “Me Generation” (Gigante, 2010). In terms of aspirations, accomplishments, and lifestyles the boomers excelled over earlier generations.
Higher education became a priority for this generation; women began to achieve equality in the workforce, which opened doors to specialized skills, and decision-making positions (Williamson, 2008). As of 2011, the oldest of the boomers have reached retirement age (Gigante, 2010). With Americans turning age 50 every 7. 5 seconds, by the year 2015, baby boomers will represent 45% ced of the United States population. By the year 2030, one in five Americans will be age 65 or over, and the demand for medical care for the boomers will spill over for the next twenty years.
The Aging Population Essay Example
60% of adults age 50 – 64 have at least one chronic disease, and adults over age 65 – 85 could be diagnosed with more than one (Huffington, 2013). Hospitals, clinics, care centers, and insurance providers are working on plans for the expected increase in medical services for the aging baby boomers. With 60% of the boomers having one or more chronic disease that require regular healthcare visits. By year 2030, 28% of the U. S. population will be elderly, and additional healthcare personnel would be needed to assist with patient care and medications, patient education, and guidance in developing lifestyle changes.
Future demands for medical careers in chiropractic, alternative, holistic medicines, and other health care positions are foreseeable. In the past few decades, the shortage of nurses in the United States has worsened. There will be fewer experienced nurses in the future because; traditionally, this career has always been occupied by women and baby boomers are a large part of the existing nursing workforce that are approaching retirement (Atchison, n. d. ). Regardless of age, everyone is spending more on healthcare costs.
Whereas the boomers may add to the health care crisis, expensive new drugs, diagnostics, and medical technology not only comes with an increase in demand but an increase in healthcare costs as well. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows the impact of the baby boomers start to decline after year 2035, but healthcare spending per person will continue to climb for the next 45 years (Gigante, 2010). The greatest obstacle for baby boomers is the lack of health insurance coverage.
Baby boomers are realizing the utterly inadequacy of gaining access to and paying for long-term care. The Baby Boomers are the largest single demographic affected by the new legislation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Medicare and Medicaid are the main sources of health care coverage for the boomers age 65 and over. Pre-boomers that are not covered through work will have an opportunity to obtain coverage through ACA without the threat of higher premiums because of medical history, or rejection for pre-existing conditions.
Pre-baby boomers can retire early or change careers and not worry about health insurance coverage. The ACA will do away with lifetime maximums, annual dollar limits on benefits, which has given boomers an affordable choice in insurance selection (Bob, 2013). As demanding citizens, and consumers with higher expectations of goods, services and customer care, boomers have less of a sense of loyalty than earlier generations. Shopping for services, and being willing to walk away from traditional based care, boomers have caused new changes to occur in the healthcare industry.
Boomers visit doctors more, for treatments, rehabilitation, and for the latest in life-saving technology. Boomers do not share the “Doctor knows best” analogy of earlier generations, and with much less credibility. As patients, boomers demand information from choices in care to wellness strategies to billing options. As a group, boomers have caused dramatic changes in the way healthcare is organized and provided. Boomers and the elderly account for 26% of office visits, 35% of hospital admissions, 34% of prescriptions, 38% of medical emergencies, and 90% of
nursing home use. Continuing to place a decrease on the disability rate, demographic data continue to show an increase in life expectancy at every age. Boomers reductions in disabilities have resulted from a combination of lifestyle changes, health education, preventive medicine actions, and ready access to high quality medical connections (Blanchette, 1998). As luck would have it, even though the boomers will put an enormous strain on the federal financial plan and the healthcare industry, baby boomers will also leave behind a legacy of healthcare improvements.
Demands from the largest demographic in American history is prompting pharmacy companies to develop new drugs faster, demanding accessibility to higher quality of care, anticipate health care providers to be both highly skilled and humanistic, and with expectations of advancements in science and medical technology annually to promote good health. Individual physician practices are beginning group practices with different specialties in preparation for the needed geriatric services, while offering longevity to the lives of baby boomers (Gigante, 2010).
Over the next couple of decades, a fast growth of 90% or more of seniors is projected across the states in the west, along with Texas, Georgia, and Florida in the south. Slow growing metropolitan areas, mostly in the Northeast and the Midwest will also have a greater aging population, but with a decline in the younger population. Boomers could be called the first “suburban generation”, because baby boomers are most likely to reside in the suburbs, near large metropolitan areas, which began with the earlier generation after WWII (Frey, 2010).
Just as baby boomers have altered the healthcare systems with the greatest impact in numbers, boomers are most likely to alter long-term care. Promoting a longing for dignity and independence, boomers are already participating in assisted-living options that provide a base of social support, supplemented with fee-for-service items as needed. The enormous costs and the increasing regulations with regards to nursing home care for sicker patients will result in centers changing into long-term care hospitals and subacute facilities, rather than having the truly residential and homelike environments of today (Blanchette, 1998).
The baby boomers were the generation that protested the war in Vietnam, witnessed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy, watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, and voted for President Barack Obama, the first African-American president of United States of America. Baby boomers are not put together to grow old gracefully, and are not likely to settle for less (Gigante, 2010).