Sooner than later, healthcare will evolve in order to serve more “older” and “elderly” patients, as an estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers hit age 65 every day in what some are calling "the Silver Tsunami." With life expectancy longer than ever, changes in Long Term Care (LTC) will become some of the most significant evolutions in healthcare.
Unlike Baby Boomers, GenXers and Millennials have needs and expectations that differ from previous generations. What will change in LTC as a result of these new generations becoming caregivers and agents of decision?
GenXers are a self-sufficient generation capable of getting things done. They're more savvy than previous generations which enables them to make good judgements. Considered to be the "sandwich generation," they're usually busy providing childcare while also caring for aging parents. As healthcare decision-makers, they expect transparency and evidence-based solutions.
Like their GenXer counterparts, Millennials are also very savvy. They do their research and have expectations when it comes to the quality of care. They differ from other generations by constantly challenging the status quo and expect a more simplistic approach to healthcare. Millennials also place a high value on public opinion, reviews and recommendations. They seek information by actively researching healthcare providers online, where other generations relied more heavily on word-of-mouth endorsements from close friends and family.
The Cost of Aging
LTC includes a number of services that help meet the medical and non-medical needs of people suffering from long term illnesses or physical and mental disabilities who can no longer care for themselves. LTC serves vulnerable populations of any age with a large concentration of older (55+) and elderly (65+) patients.
One commonality across the LTC patient population, especially for elderly patients, is a limited income requiring the use of third-party payment through Medicare or Medicaid. Aging comes at a price and healthcare costs are one of the most expensive. A 65 year old "healthy" couple can expect to spend an estimated $245,000 on healthcare throughout their retirement. This estimate doesn’t include out-of-pocket expenses or LTC costs which have increased 29 percent since 2005.
The Future of Long Term Care
Unlike hospice, which is only offered when the patient is expected to live six months or less, LTC is focused on long term services that help provide recipients with day-to-day needs supporting their independence. Through Medicare and Medicaid, programs of all-inclusive care for the elderly (PACE) help families navigate in-home care needs by providing comprehensive medical and social services. The future of LTC will see a greater number of patients using programs like this and utilizing caregiving.
A caregiver is classified as someone providing unpaid care, usually for a sick or aging family member. There are an estimated 44 million caregivers, with a significant portion consisting of Millennials. To serve these Millennials, who are in turn caring for aging family members, healthcare will need to tailor its approach to delivery by treating patients and their family members as conscious consumers and focusing on patients' unique needs.
Concordance Healthcare Solutions has developed a Long Term Care program to meet the specific needs of LTC facilities. Our experts understand the needs of LTC providers and can provide the products you need and help you survive delays in reimbursement. Contact us for more information.