Studies conducted at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) show that 85 percent of seniors aged 65 years or more have one of the everyday lifestyle or old age conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and arthritis – and this can mean high healthcare costs.
The struggle to deliver affordable and accessible health care to seniors may worsen instead of improving. A report released by the Population Reference Bureaus predicts a 75 percent jump in the number of American seniors in need of home-based nursing care by 2030. The same report indicates that the number of individuals aged 65 years and above will increase to 98 million people by 2060 from today’s 46 million – this is expected to strain the delivery of care to the elders.
Health practitioners are considering introducing telemedicine to bring healthcare to seniors and cut the cost.
Telemedicine is expected to address these challenges:
Older people struggle to show up for an appointment: Such conditions as Parkinson’s disease, mobility problems, and arthritis prevent seniors from traveling to seek medical care. Those without children or spouses can be isolated.
Care providers lack visibility: primary care providers are often uninformed of the seniors’ recent health history or need for new medications. The lack of clarity makes it challenging to deliver effective care.
Communities often don’t have on-site expertise: medically fragile seniors often find themselves living in communities without sufficient physicians who can avail care as quickly as possible.
The benefits of telemedicine to the healthcare of seniors can be put into four categories:
Disease management: Seniors with chronic conditions often worry that their days are numbered. With telemedicine, however, the management of these diseases becomes easier and adds more years to the seniors’ lives.
Convenience: Telemedicine removes the need to travel to health care centers or wait for physicians.
Fewer hospitalizations: Since telemedicine provides on-site care where the seniors are, there is no need to be hospitalized at a health care center.
Better visibility and coordination: With telemedicine, doctors will stay abreast of the senior’s changing medical conditions and respond to them in real-time.
Staying healthy at old age
Staying healthy at old age, as more American seniors get old, there is a need to cut improve access to care and cut the cost of care by rolling out large scale telemedicine. Telemedicine lets seniors live vibrant lives for longer.