The growing, aging baby boomer generation is driving many aspects of our lives today. As consumers, boomers are becoming a targeted demographic for marketers and advertisers as companies realize they have disposable dollars to spend. Popular culture is skewing older as evidenced by aging actors landing lead roles in movies and audiences are responding. Although there are many positive ways the boomer cohort influences our lifestyle, one area has the potential to negatively impact us – changing the healthcare system.
An article on Boomercafe.com reported on what that impact will look like as the boomer generation ages and requires ever-increasing healthcare services. The article cites an infographic created from various government healthcare data sources by Concordia University reflecting a generation with some serious health issues. The sources included the Centers for Disease Control, the Mayo Clinic, and Health Policy Solutions.
The infographic’s statistics show the average person over 65 has multiple chronic health conditions, including 72 percent with hypertension, 51 percent with arthritis, 31 percent have heart disease, 24 percent cancer, and 20 percent are diabetic. As for healthcare spending, boomers account for one-third of all healthcare spending, which averages $1,456 more out-of-pocket medical costs than the total population, one-third of total prescription drug use and have 40 percent of the U.S. population’s doctor visits.
An encouraging response to boomers aging into seniors is the healthcare industry’s focus on expanding the senior care infrastructure to accommodate serving this population. One statistic estimates that by 2020, nearly 5.6 million new healthcare jobs will be needed to handle the growth and demand. Those jobs will be in pharmaceutical manufacturing, home health care services, nursing care facilities, hospitals, community care facilities and physicians’ offices.
How might boomers stave off the high utilization of healthcare services? Prevention, awareness, a healthier lifestyle, and regular medical checkups are a good start.