Changing needs of healthcare for a 100-year lifespan
"Science and technology are incredible but I’m still waiting for that magic chocolate bar to fix all my health issues."
We’re all getting older – it’s just part of the cycle of life. And with no fountain of youth or magic chocolate bar to cure us of our ailments, we’ll just have to make do with ageing and the added health issues that arise.
We are, however, living longer and healthier lives (according to global stats) and the advances from science and medical research are truly amazing! We’re starting to see a move towards adapting to a 100-year lifespan, and with this come many disruptors and changes to traditional old-age care.
In the UK, for example, there are already 170 companies operating in the longevity industry, and the launch of the government’s £98 million industrial strategy challenge fund (ISCF) for healthy ageing will provide a further boost. The opportunities in the longevity industry include the development of new products and services around a longer retirement, helping people to live in their homes for longer, tackling loneliness, and increasing independence and wellbeing.
This means that, instead of sending retirees to old-age homes or tailored retirement villages, the trend is moving towards bringing services and products directly to one’s home and allowing retirees to live in their homes for longer while receiving all the care and assistance they need. Bringing in qualified nurses and caretakers is not a new concept, but the prevalence is increasing as it becomes more easily available along with the necessary supplementary services.
Imagine having all the services you need within your local suburb or community: security, meal deliveries, nursing, emergency management and even handy DIYers who can deal with small (or not-so-small) repairs. Each of these has staff who are trained to deal with older clients (some of whom may have dementia), is focused on retirees, and offers services and operating times that make sense. Once these companies move into an area, and make it simple and understandable for people to use their services, we’ll find that independent home living becomes the norm for retirees.
There are many factors specifically regarding healthcare that concern the ageing population: overcrowded hospitals, lonely old-age homes and lack of nearby facilities. Engaging in home care services can not only alleviate these concerns, but also offers highly professional and qualified care at a lesser cost than some of the alternatives. Home care can also simply be to provide comfort and company, and can extend to counselling when needed. Procare, a local specialist in the healthcare industry, offers home care services for a wide range of needs, and cares for people of any age. Whether it’s simply a weekly check-in that’s needed or a full-time nurse at hand, they can assist with a tailored solution.
Many pensioners who live with their families often need to spend extended periods of time by themselves and it’s only natural to feel a little lonely. An interesting app that’s recently been launched in Florida aims to match students with older people who either need chores done or who simply need company. Papa Pais is just one example of many regarding the focus on creating quality independent living for an older generation. Google’s ‘Alexa’ and Apple’s ‘Siri’ are also being marketed to retirees for simple tasks such as medication reminders, tracking of to-do lists, audiobooks, news, trivia, etc. Even though technology may seem like a different world to some older folk, there’s a lot of development in the area of longevity and assisting ageing users with technology.
Moving forward, it’s highly likely that we’ll see communities organically grow and become retirement-centric, with healthcare and independent living being the key areas of focus. We can’t avoid health issues but we can certainly manage them, and doing so in the comfort and familiarity of our home is probably the best choice we could make.
Whether you’re planning for retirement yourself, looking after your parents, or possibly at that juncture of deciding whether to move to a care centre or retirement village, take the time to understand all the options available, and find out whether opting for home care may buy you some more time at home.