In the coming years, the need for geriatric care in the United States will be greater than ever. Yet, while the number of senior citizens continues to grow at an enormous rate, the number of geriatricians has leveled off — it might even be shrinking.
For families throughout the United States, this is an extremely alarming trend. There is good news: there are things you can do to protect your elderly and vulnerable loved ones. In some cases, your loved one may even be qualified for free home healthcare services.
The Issue: More Seniors, Fewer Doctors
According to data from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), the number of senior citizens — approximately 45 million in 2016 — is expected to explode to nearly 100 million by the year 2060. Not only will there be more senior citizens, but seniors are also projected to make up a larger share of the overall population. With this trend comes an almost inevitable increase in the number of people who will need healthcare services. For example, a study published in Frontiers in Public Health projects the number of nursing home patients to double by 2030.
As demand for care rises, there is overwhelming evidence that our society is simply not prepared. According to Nancy Lundebjerg — the CEO of the American Geriatrics Society — there are reasons to worry that people who need geriatric services may “not have access to that kind of expertise.” In addition, The New York Times notes that the United States will need nearly twice as many geriatric professionals by 2030 as we have right now.
This problem could have a dramatic impact on the health and well being of senior citizens. At a time when care is needed the most, it may be more difficult to obtain. The pressure that this could put on the U.S. medical system as a whole has the potential to have real, tangible adverse effects.
How You Can Help to Protect Your Elderly Loved Ones
Being proactive is one of the keys to ensuring that your elderly family members get the very best care. Great healthcare will help your loved one live the highest quality of life. Knowing that there may be an inadequate number of geriatric doctors and caregivers makes preparation even more important. Among other things, this means exploring all options of geriatric care and other types of specialty healthcare services as early as possible. Quick action will help to make sure that your loved one can actually access all of the programs, benefits, and options that are available. Further, families should have a clear plan for how they can work together to support their elderly members.
Free Home Healthcare Services May Be Available
At United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care, we are proud to provide no-cost home healthcare services to DOL EEOICPA/RECA beneficiaries. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do for you and your family, we are always here to explain your options to you. For immediate assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our team today.