Recently, I had the good fortune of attending the first Australasia Aging Investment Forum in Sydney, Australia. This was an incredible opportunity to look beyond New York and exchange ideas and best practices with healthcare leaders from around the world.
Consider these facts:
By 2050, nearly 40% of Japan’s population will be age 65 and older.
Seventy nine percent of South Koreans say that the growing number of older people in their country is a major problem.
By 2030, 1 out of every 8 people will be 65 years or older.
People age 85 and over are now the fastest growing portion of many national populations.
Average life expectancy in Japan is 82.
We are a global community that is greying at a rapid pace. To face the “aging tsunami,” there are four core focal areas that we need to address, both in the United States and globally.
There are currently 65 million caregivers in the United States– 20% of the population. Many adult children are no longer living at home or live far away so we must develop impactful yet affordable solutions for caregivers. From day care programs to geriatric care management, we need to care for the caregiver so they can provide the best attention for their loved one, and prevent their own burnout.
Apps, such as the Balance app for Alzheimer’s caregivers, are essential for increasing communication and simplicity among multiple caregivers. Monitoring services, sensors and telemedicine are all effective technological advancements for the aging population.
There is a dearth of affordable housing for older adults. We need to explore alternative models of housing, including continuing care retirement communities, vertical nursing homes and congregant care efficiencies.
With chronic diseases causing 7 in 10 deaths annually, managed long-term care is the future of home care.
Although Australia is a world away, healthcare for the aging population is a universal connector. Our countries may have political or economic differences, but we found commonalities when it came to preparing for the greying population.