Health issues are of proportionately larger concern to seniors than they are to the rest of the population. Seniors encounter the health care system more frequently, so the pressing issues there affect them more. What are those issues facing all Americans today, but especially the aging population?
Shortage of doctors
It is believed there is already a shortfall of doctors by the tens of thousands, and the problem will only get worse as the population ages. If the trend is not reversed some fear only the wealthiest among US citizens will be able to afford quality health care.
Hospital mistakes & hospital acquired infections
Some studies have shown that hospital error and infections are among the leading causes of preventable death, perhaps killing as many, or more, people than car accidents or diabetes. There has been improvement in recent years, but there is still a lot of room to continue to save lives.
Caregiver crisis for the aging population
The country is expecting a 101 percent increase in the 65 and over population between 2000 and 2030, straining families’ ability to cope with the responsibility of caring for their parents and grandparents. Plans for ways to help the elderly with improved infrastructure and city design are being developed to accommodate this population, but caregivers will also be needed in unprecedented numbers.
The high-cost of dementia and Alzheimer’s
Today there are over 5 million people in the US with Alzheimer’s. This number is expected to double every 20 years. A cure is still not on the horizon, so other solutions for care and easing the extreme financial burden of this illness must be found. The Alzheimer’s Association foresees the cost of caring for these patients reaching $1.2 trillion by 2050, making it the most expensive illness in the country.
These questions and others are in search of answers today and in the near future. Although the challenges seem daunting, with good will and hard work, solutions will present themselves and will be implemented as needed.