In the near future, representing more than 75 million people and nearly one-third of the U.S. population, the baby boomers will soon present a number of challenges on the health care industry as the first members of this generation get closer toward their retirement years, increasing their need for medical care. The first baby boomers turning 65 in 2011 and their over-65 population will be tripling between 1980 and 2030.
According to the American Hospital Association (AHA) report, more than 37 million boomers will be managing more than one chronic condition by 2030. One out of four living with diabetes, almost half will be living with arthritis and more than one third will be classified as obese, living with all the health risks associated with obesity.
Even though new technology and medications have been able to manage chronic conditions, we haven’t developed the delivery system to do that. In order to improve health care delivery for these chronic conditions, hospitals need to focus on forming community-based collaborations and strengthen outpatient services; in addition, national attention must be placed on how health care is paid for. The boomer generation is the perfect group to advocate for change in this critical area.
In summary, with the needs for massive change in the way health care is paid for and delivered, we’re going to need to motivate the boomer generation (known for their strong streak of political activism and involvement in social changes and issues) to encourage them to send a strong wave for massive changes.
Workforce changes will need to be made in order to meet the demands of the boomer generation due to many of today’s health care workers are themselves part of the same generation. There will definitely be a nursing shortage and a physician shortage, there will not be enough family physicians, and primary and family care which will all be very important to this...