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3 Key Ways the Age Wave Might Affect the Senior Care Industry

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Across the globe, human longevity continues to increase while birth rates decline. Before 2020, the population of older adults will exceed that of children, according to United Nations data. With fewer family members available to provide support, who will care for the world’s seniors? And who will pay for that care? Here are three key ways in which the graying of the global population might impact the senior care industry.

The Rising Importance of Cost-Effective, Dignified Care at Home

A key question for aging seniors globally is where they will live as they age. According to AARP, about nine in 10 older adults say they want to remain in their homes as long as possible. And increasingly, private pay home care services are helping them do just that.

According to the Value of Home Care report from the Home Care Association of America and the Global Coalition on Aging, high-quality home care for older adults can return benefits that include reduced out-of-pocket expenses for the insured and avoidance of U.S. rehospitalization penalties for providers. In-home care can work in concert with a range of other options, such as community programs and continuing care retirement communities, to help older adults age in place.

Because traditional government healthcare programs and institutional options are not currently equipped to accommodate the millions of older adults who will need care in the coming decades, private-pay senior care companies may see an opportunity to fill a gap between the care families provide to older relatives and institutional care options. By offering services like personal care, medication monitoring and transportation, in-home care providers can play a key role in helping older adults achieve their goals to age in place, obtain assistance with activities of daily living and enhance their wellness by taking medications on time and attending routine medical appointments.

Increasing Demand for Care Professionals

Historically families have provided the bulk of the care needed to keep older adults healthy and living at home. The U.S. traditionally has maintained a ratio of seven potential family caregivers for every one person aged 80 or over, but this ratio is expected to shrink to 4:1 by 2030, according to AARP.

With fewer children available to care for aging parents, older adults may begin to look to paid caregiving services for assistance. The demand for senior care professionals is expected to increase, and many stakeholders—including the home care industry, education system and policymakers—must come together to ensure the supply of highly trained and compassionate care providers grows along with the demand for services.

Technology will Change the Senior Care Ecosystem

Advances in medical technology already enable some seniors to live at home instead of in a skilled nursing facility. For example, devices like implantable pulmonary artery pressure monitors can allow older adults with congestive heart failure to live comfortably at home while their condition is monitored remotely by a cardiologist. And other technology, such as GPS shoes for people with Alzheimer’s, likewise will change the senior care ecosystem in fundamental ways, as these individuals may no longer need to be cared for solely in a secure memory care facility.

These ongoing developments in the technology of aging could cause an expansion in the role of the senior care professional. Home care providers may be called upon to interact more with medical professionals through technology or to provide higher-level monitoring of senior health conditions.

The Changing Face of Aging

The next 30 years should be an exciting time of growth and challenges for the senior care industry in the U.S. and Canada—and around the world. As longevity increases, more older adults may seek out in-home care to help them live vibrantly in the familiar surroundings of their own home.

For more details and statistics about the rapidly aging global population and its effect on senior care, visit www.ChangingtheFaceofAging.com.

Last revised: February 6, 2018

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