Projecting the Future of Senior Health Care

Projecting the Future of Senior Health Care

According to the Center for Disease Control, 80% of COVID-19 deaths have been reported in people 65 or older. As we watch this disease wreak havoc on retirement communities, it can be easy to bash on the existing healthcare system and its current failings. However, researchers are now forecasting the future of geriatric care in a post-COVID world. According to Next Avenue’s two-part series, there are three things to expect:

  1. An Increase in Telehealth: In a matter of weeks, the number of telehealth users skyrocketed from 13,000 to 1.7 million per week. While telehealth may not function at this same rate in the future, it is still anticipated that it will become more widely incorporated into medical practices. Not only is it safer and more convenient for patients to remain at home, but it might also save money for doctor’s offices and insurers. However, it is important to recognize that telehealth is also not realistic for all people. Some patients may not have access to the proper technology, and others may have disabilities which prevent them from using the technology.
  2. An Increase in Geriatric Care: As the Baby Boomer generation begins to enter into retirement age, it is anticipated that geriatric care will be more highly valued and sought after. Right now, there are about 7,000 geriatricians in the U.S., but in the next 5 years it is estimated that there will need to be 23,000 geriatric physicians to accommodate the influx of elderly people.
  3. A Revised Landscape of Living Options: COVID-19 has demonstrated the existing model in nursing homes and retirement communities may not be sustainable in the future. Some predict that senior living will have smaller, clustered housing (like individual neighborhoods) that would maintain community but mitigate the risk of infection. Others expect that society will move away from care communities and incentivize aging in place or living with family.

Sources and further reading:

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