The CDC predicts that by the year 2030 the number of Americans 65 years or older will double to over 70 million people, and this alone will have far-reaching effects on our public healthcare system. Healthcare professionals are making strides to prepare for this massive influx of patients, and promoting the importance of prevention earlier than ever before. With an increased emphasis on prevention, the system is hoping to alleviate the number of elderly adults who will need serious healthcare during their later years. The government is stepping and urging communities, and educational institutions to get ready as well. And big changes are also happening across the industry to improve technology, and make systems more efficient.
The American healthcare system is taking these important steps to prepare:
- Promoting Healthier Lifestyle behaviors for the young and elderly: The hope is that healthy lifestyles will become more of a priority for all people, not just aging Americans, and people will be more apt to eat a healthier diet, get more exercise, and never start smoking to begin with, or quit smoking before it’s too late.
- Increasing the number of Clinical Preventative Services: The CDC says, “Only about 25% of adults aged 50–64 years are up-to-date on recommended immunizations and cancer screenings.” Catching cancer early, and providing immunizations before outbreaks spread is key.
- Improving Cognitive Healthcare: Many people as young as 30 are taking steps to prevent dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease by studying their family history, and actively addressing what and where their loved ones went wrong. According to CVS, “Cognitive decline is not inevitable. And there are steps you can take to slow the process down, and there are certain risk factors to identify early on that aid in prevention.” Some of the risk factors are: Advanced age, lack of mental activity, smoking, having the gene (APOE-e4) linked to Alzheimer’s disease, substance abuse, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Treating just one of these diseases or disorders can prevent early cognitive decline altogether.
- Advanced Planning: Health professionals are hoping that people will start planning better, and preparing themselves and their loved ones, to deal with the aging process, living with chronic illnesses, and caring for those with a terminal illness.
- Focusing on Education, Workshops, and Training: The government is providing additional grants, beefing up programs, and creating initiatives to get America ready. “Initiatives identifying creative solutions that will help America’s communities meet the needs of an unprecedented population of aging Americans looking to comfortably age in place,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation.
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