With the aging of a large number of Americans born between 1946 and 1964, the society as a whole must deal with a number of issues regarding senior care. Though these seniors receive Social Security and Medicare, their continuing needs often require additional financial resources, manpower and facilities. A few issues are most pressing in the near future, starting in 2013 and well into 2030.
In Home Aging
Assisted living facilities saw a boom in the 1980s, which continued through the 1990s and into the 2000s. However, the current decade is experiencing an increase in the number of seniors who are choosing to “age in place” in their own homes or smaller, independent living spaces. In many cases, families are able to provide “in-law cottages,” apartments or other separate quarters within their own homes. Developers are beginning to design small, elder-oriented homes, apartments and condominium for seniors that are close to community services. The need for this type of housing in the future is expected to increase dramatically as the Baby Boomers age. With in-home aging comes the necessity to provide care coordination for a variety of health and medical conditions, including physical therapy, pharmaceutical support, nutritional guidance and laboratory services. Finding sufficient methods of care coordination for these seniors will require personnel trained in multiple areas of medical training.
Altzheimer’s disease is expected to affect up to one in eight older Americans. The number of people affected by this disease is expected to increase as the population ages. As many as 800,000 of Alzheimer’s patients live alone. These people will require additional financial resources in 2013 to provide day care and long term care as other family members work. The number of Alzheimer’s and other memory care facilities cannot currently keep up with the growth in the number of people with the disease. More community programs for day care, as well as long-term facilities with specifically trained personnel will be required across the country, in both urban and rural areas.
Geriatric Training For Senior Care
Geriatric care is only covered in its most basic form under current nursing programs. This shortfall in nursing knowledge will become a handicap for adequate senior care in the future, as better medical treatment allows more seniors to live longer. Nursing programs should be altered as quickly as possible to provide greater understanding of the needs of older people and the special issues involved in providing them the best care possible. An understanding of both the psychological aspects of care as well as increased technological requirements should be a part of all nursing programs in the future. Along with the increased nursing requirements for older people come the shortages in labor trained to work in long term care facilities. These people must not only be technically trained for working with seniors that may involve severe disabilities, they must also be constitutionally capable of dealing with the stressful conditions of this daily care. Education for this work will involve careful assessment of employee’s personalities, as well as providing the right kind of training to deal with ongoing medical issues.
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Rhonda Corn is a public health administrator and guest author at Top Masters in Public Health, where she has journaled about the top masters in public health degrees.