According to the Census Bureau, there are now 44 million people in the United States age 65 and older. But thanks to the Baby Boomer generation, that number is expected to double by 2050. To be ready for that surging level of retirees, senior living organizations need to act now to put services, functions, and amenities in place that cater to Boomers.
That preparation should definitely include telehealth. Boomers are used to a different, higher level of technology access, and they are familiar with using automated and online services to increase healthcare efficiency. Communities that put a priority on telehealth services now will be well positioned as the waves of Boomers keep coming in.
Here are three reasons that this generation places a value on telehealth, and why you need to consider these services for your operation:
1. Technology Adoption is Increasing
In a 2014 Pew study of seniors, 60 percent of those over age 65 go online, which is a major jump from just a few years ago. Those with higher household incomes and education levels have even greater technology adoption levels, and about 80 percent of those who do use technology have very strong positive attitudes about the benefits of online information in their personal lives.
As technology becomes increasingly integrated into everyday life, younger Boomers will come into communities with an expectation of technology access, and that will include telehealth services. These technology adoption levels will continue to climb, and so will expectations about access.
2. Health Care is Changing
Shifts in healthcare models, insurance, and wellness are all familiar to Boomers, as they demand more control over their health choices. As a result, Boomers expect more out of health care, and that includes adoption of innovative tools and technology like telehealth.
They look to resources like vital sign monitoring, fall prevention, and intelligent alerts as options that are part of an overall preventative care strategy. Boomers are at the forefront of driving health information online, and accessing that advice and research wherever they are. As informed, influential, and savvy healthcare consumers, they’re not content with the old, reactive model of health that left decisions up to physicians and surgeons. Boomers are more engaged than ever in their care, and innovation like telehealth accommodates that change.
3. They View Aging Differently
This is not their parents’ retirement. Boomers have a different set of expectations for how they’re going to spend their golden years, and that includes getting more out of their senior years than other generations have. Basically,they are reinventing retirement.
With that reinvention comes telehealth, which allows them to stay active and independent for longer. Because these services let them take preventative action faster, they can be more effective in taking care of themselves. Communities that offer a robust array of services to help them take those steps will be ones where Boomers sign up eagerly.
When considering ways to incorporate telehealth services into your senior living organization, first take a look at what types of components you need for an overall technology strategy. Then, you can start to develop a technology roadmap that brings telehealth into your IT mix, and Boomers into your residences.