As the world moves from ‘sick care’ to ‘Aged Care’ and the numbers of Baby Boomers increase, our society is having to deal with an unprecedented number of senior citizens who will need to be taken care of. This massive demographic has its own unique needs and demands, and as a result, the global Aged Care market is seeing these trends:
Increasing Shortage of Aged Care Providers:
In the US alone, estimates from Business Insider indicate that by the year 2025, there will be a collective shortage of about 500,000 home health aides, 100,000 nursing assistants and 29,000 nurse practitioners. Countries like Australia, the UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Germany are also looking to fill their deficits in experience healthcare personnel by recruiting overseas qualified nurses.
Digitization of Senior Health Care:
Digital healthcare technologies can reduce costs, improve the quality of care and create an Aged Care business model that is more sustainable. Digital assistants will help seniors to monitor health issues, and laptops and mobiles now have senior-friendly icons and displays. Emergency Response is another area where digitization has helped to reach out to more senior citizens who are living alone at home. There are apps that help seniors optimize their exercise, diet, and medication.
Assisted living and senior home care facilities are now smart home-enabled, with assistants like Alexa and Google Home reminding seniors to take medicines on time and visit their doctors. Smart clothing is being experimented with, that helps to monitor patients’ movements and to alert a care team if they have a fall. Personal robots can make assisted living a whole lot easier.
Healthcare Plans become more expensive:
Low-income groups will continue to find healthcare plans such as Medicare in the US less affordable. Seniors who do not have a pension will also find care services very difficult to pay for. Such seniors will choose to move to community care homes that are managed by the state and will choose between short-term and long-term stay facilities.
Preference for independent living:
A key identifiable trend across nations is that the senior population who are medically fit and able to afford residential home care would prefer to age in their own homes, living with as much independence and dignity as possible. This opens up opportunities for aged care workers who can help them in doing so.
There is an increasing trend for seniors to move into retirement homes that are managed by Aged Care providers, where they can buy or lease their own homes which are managed like service apartments. They will have doctors on call, home-cooked meals made available to them, home cleaning services, laundry services and so on, at the click of a button. They can take part in community activities like yoga, meditation or cultural get-togethers that are managed by the facility.
Senior Citizens will demand a better lifestyle:
Many senior citizens are asset-rich and in the higher income group, and will expect a standard of care that is similar to their existing lifestyle. They would expect to remain well connected with friends and family and would like to continue to travel and enjoy greater lifestyle amenities. They would also expect higher standards of healthcare, maintenance of good health and high-quality palliative care.
If you would like to pursue a career in Aged care, do undertake an introductory course like the Certificate III in Individual Support to get you started!