The Aging Population and the Need to Adapt
It’s no secret that we as baby boomers are getting older – quickly! But exactly how big and how fast is the aging population really growing?
According to AARP, the baby boomer population will be reaching the age of 65 at a rate of 10,000 a day during the next 18 years. Additionally, by 2030, about 1 in 5 americans will be over the age of 65 and by 2036, 24% of Canada’s entire population will be over the age of 65.
But what exactly does this mean and how will it impact the world and society?
First of all, there will most likely be an increase in healthcare spending and taxes. This is due to the shift in the aging population requiring more medical attention. There is also the possibility of overcrowding in retirement and care homes if there is not a change.
For example, in China, by 2050, the country will need 10 million more nursing home beds just to accommodate this demographic! That is a lot of beds.
If a bed shortage in care facilities was to occur, our families and communities will need to prepare. The good news is there are already strategies for taking action.
Adaptive Healthcare for the Aging.
Adaptive healthcare for the aging population is the process of understanding and growing a patient’s independence and capabilities during a hospital stay.
For a 20 or 30 year old, 5 days in a hospital bed doesn’t seem so bad. However, for a 70 year old who was mobile before their entry, may encounter severe difficulties transferring back into routine with the same motions and movements as before.
By recognising an aging patient’s abilities, it is critical to keep them walking and limit their inactivity to what is truly required. This limits a patient’s muscle atrophy, keeps them engaged, frees up hospital beds and decreases the cost per patient.
Ultimately it improves the aging demographics independence and overall health.
Another slightly more popular approach is:
Aging in Place.
An increasing number of homeowners are now renovating their homes and living spaces to construct an accessible, inclusive and functional environment to age into and continue living independently.
Alterations include – widening doorways, bathroom remodels featuring walk-in showers instead of bathtubs, and more.
Another addition is home safety and support products to assist in daily activities.
Contractors and City Councils should be advocating for this to become the standard in homes.
However, the aging demographic must also be educated and aware of this strategy to take action and free up space.
Another possibility to mitigate the issue of overcrowding are:
Most communities are vehicle centric – we get into our car to the market, grocery store or cafe. A liveable community features all the necessities required within a walking and close distance.
Furthermore, these communities are inclusive and accessible for everyone. Sidewalks and curbs designed for wheelchairs and rollators, are also easy to use for young families with strollers and baby carriages.
This approach could improve the aging population’s ability to stay independent in their home, while being active in the community. This proposition would effectively adapt buildings, streets and transportation.
This change would not only be for the aging demographic, but also those who face daily physical challenges.
Being educated on the aging demographic and understanding the possible implications and proposed solutions, we may be ready to adapt our society to accommodate for this change and have them integrate smoothly.
If you have any comments, suggestions or anything, drop us a line.
Thanks for reading,