5 Senior Health Care Realities
By Russ Kuhn, MAML University Development Counselor
Grand Canyon University, Medford
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Health care is a fast-evolving complex field faced with many challenges, including caring for the elderly. The retirement industry is very large in Medford. In fact, according to the City of Medford, 18% of its local population is 65-years-old and above.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine Institutes of Health’s “Meeting the Challenges of Health Care for the Elder” also states that persons over the age of 65 have become a priority population for health care providers. The number of older adults in the U.S. is projected to grow from an estimated 23 million today to approximately 55 million by 2030.
As our nation’s aging population increases, demands intensify for health care professionals to specialize in gerontology and adopt the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver improved medical care for older people. The following provides a snapshot of the health care system and realities for our aging populations. 1. The Financial Cost: “Net Medicare spending is expected to increase from $583 billion in 2018 to $1.3 trillion in 2028,” informs the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Over $18,000 of health care expenditures was spent on each person age 65 and older in 2010, and key findings found that medical expenses for elders between the ages of 70 and 90 more than doubles. 2. Industry Innovation: Disruptive innovation and advanced technologies affect the future of aging, chronic and end-of-life care. Amber Redmann, CEO of a technology solutions company serving the senior living industry, discusses the benefits of smart technology for assisting the baby boomer generation, as well as digital resources like electronic health records, medication reminders via a tablet, a smart spoon designed to detect food intake and body devices for tracking daily movement.
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About the Author:
Russ Kuhn is a University Development Counselor at Grand Canyon University. Kuhn brings more than 30 years of global leadership experience to the Rogue Valley as the Medford-based UDC. He serves as the local face and brand ambassador to support GCU’s mission and help students start their educational journey.

Grand Canyon University 3300 W. Camelback Road Phoenix, AZ 85017 866-332-8863 Toll Free Fax Russ.Kuhn@gcu.edu
Refer someone to attend Grand Canyon University at http://www.gcu.edu/udc/Russ.Kuhn
3. Startup Influence: According to NEJM Catalyst, 65% of respondents to a New Marketplace survey believe that startups will be the most promising new entrant in the area of primary care, overcoming limitations met by traditional health care organizations. Science Service of the Dr. Hempel Digital Health Network lists 10 innovative elderly health care startups. These businesses offer services focusing on wearable devices supporting body tremors, a mobile platform that allows loved ones to track the elderly patient’s medical progress and connecting patients, who are confined to a nursing home for example, to the outside world through virtual reality. 4. Shortage of Geriatric-Skilled Health Care Professionals: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing’s “Issues Affecting the Health of Older Citizens: Meeting the Challenge” identifies a lack of health care providers who are educated in geriatrics and gerontology as a critical health care issue. Within the next two years, it’s expected that the RN workforce will be 20% below projected requirements. Less than 25% of bachelor’s nursing programs have one gerontological nursing course, resulting in a significant demand for geriatric-focused education. 5. Community-Based Supports and Services (CBSS): Senior patients do not only suffer from chronic disease and aging ailments; they also suffer from social and emotional issues such as depression because of isolation. CBSS shifts health care toward more holistic and wide-ranging models of care, so older adults may remain in their homes and experience a better quality of life. Resources include wellness/nutritional programs, counseling services for elders and their caregivers, housing, financing and legal advising, safety and transportation assistance, opportunities for volunteer and socialization, and more. The challenges of caring for older adult populations continue to rise, right along with the increasing number of older adults who need long-term care. This results in a high demand for nurses, health care professionals, community organizations and innovators who are qualified to meet the needs of senior patients and provide solutions to problems. Gerontology is one critical aspect of the health care system seeking profound change, and more than ever, the industry needs to provide specialized services and resources to the fastest growing group in the U.S.
The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County
101 E. 8th St.  |  Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 779-4847

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