The number of elderly people is increasing each year. They constitute the fastest growing age group. Those who were born during the period of the first baby boom that is between the years 1946 and 1964 have reached the age of 65 in the year 2011.
The alarming fact about it is that older adults are at risk of chronic illnesses. Among the chronic conditions are dementia, arthritis, diabetes mellitus and congestive heart failure.
The alarming fact concerning the increase of decease level among elderly people is that over 37 million people which constitute about sixty percent of group of older people will have more than 1 chronic condition by the year 2030.
Kramarow E states that despite the fact the health of Americans ages sixty-five and older has improved in terms of such indicators as functioning, longevity, self-reported health the prospect for future improvements can be limited by rising rates of obesity and diabetes among middle-aged Americans.
According to the information presented in the article entitled “When I’m 64” the health care system will be reshaped forever as a result of the aging baby boomers. Despite the fact that people will enjoy their later years there will be more chronic conditions. Consequently, health care services will be utilized more often. It is estimated that by those aged over 65 will double as a result of aging boomers. Additionally, more than six of every ten boomers will suffer more than one chronic disease.
Moreover, over twenty-one million aging boomers will be obese. Every four boomers that is 14 million will have diabetes. Over twenty-six million boomers will have arthritis.
Thus, in order to meet all above-mentioned health care challenges new care delivery and approaches will be required. Boomers will have a significant influence of the U.S. health care system. The following four factors bring forth changes, namely, significant increase of older people who require more health care services than other generations of Americans, high rate of chronic diseases of boomers.
U.S. Census, 2006 estimate from 2000 census states that after all boomers reach retirement age almost 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 or older. At present this rate is less than 13 percent. The alarming fact is that by the year 2030 there will be more than 70 million Americans aged over 65 (Thornhill, 2006).
One more important fact to be named in connection with the changes of the health care system is that longevity of Americans has increased. It became possible due to lifestyle changes and advances in health care.
Thus, for instance, fewer citizens die at an early age from heart disease and cancer. The improvement of the five-year cancer survival rate increase from 50 percent in the mid 70s up to 66 percent in the beginning of the 21st century (Chartbook 2006).
Americans ages sixty-five and older are at risk of development chronic disease as about 80 per cent suffer at least one chronic illness. With the aging process of boomers the number of those who suffer chronic disease is bound to grow from 8.6 million to 37 million in the year 2030.
In this respect one of the greatest danger to the health of older people is such chronic diseases as diabetes and chronic hypertension. It is to be understood that the overall rate of diabetes and hypertension is on the constant increase and will become on of the major problems as the future generation reach the age of 65. Consequently, increasing demands will be put on the health care system.
The increase of older people who suffer from diabetes is b will rise as every four Boomers that is about 14 million will have diabetes. As a result medical management in outpatient and inpatient setting will be required (Institute for the Future, 2006).
The number f older Americans who suffer from arthritis is belieexpected to rise up to sixty-seven million by the year 2030. Even though the health risks of arthritis is not great lack of mobility will make many older Americans seek pain control treatments as well as joint replacements and alternative therapies.
One more serious challenge for the health care system is obesity. The incidence of obesity increases the risk for many diseases. Obesity rate are also expected to rise among older Boomers. According to the expectations the number of obese people in the population of America can reach up to 93 million. It is estimated that by the year 2030 more than one out of every three Boomers will suffer from obesity that is over twenty-one million older Boomers.
It can be predicted that new weight- management techniques will be on demand as obese people will require help to cope with obesity.
Consideration is the Racial and Ethnical Diversity of Boomers
One more fact which has to be taken into consideration is the racial and ethnical diversity of boomers. About 20 percent of older people of the present generation belong to minority groups. The number of minority representatives will increase as the the Boomers generation larger percentage of immigrant families. Thus, the medical care giver will have to be more flexible and take into consideration cultural diversity.
Boomers as well as other older Americans will experience the rise of the incidence of diabetes. At the same time the situation can be improved through monitoring tools and treatment availability with diabetes current control possibilities such as glucose level control etc. However, it is necessary to stress that despite the current control through glucose testing and insulin shots as well as oral medications only thirty-seven percent of patients achieve good control of blood sugar. Additionally, insulin pumps and insulin pens will make it more convenient for patients to make administration of insulin. The asthma-like inhaler which would deliver insulin is also expected to make insulin treatment more acceptable and convenient for patients. It is believed that with application of remote care technologies will open tan era of “virtual caregivers”. Remote monitoring will enable patient to receive care at home with the help of virtual caregivers. Thus, many patients will get possibility to get advice and instructions at home. Monitors will detect daily activity of patient and send alerts in case there is unusual activity or patterns of patients.
It is expected that the so-called smart pill bottles will be applied in order to detect if medication is missed and remind a patient. In general it is predicted that application of new technologies will eliminate barriers to effective treatment. The conclusion can be drawn that the increase of elder Americans will bring major changes into the health care system.