Current Trends in Lifespan Planning

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May 9, 2005 at 2:29 pm  •  Posted in Lifespan Planning by  •  0 Comments

By Forrest Hong, PhD, LCSW, CMC

Living at Home / Community Living
Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Internet and Self-Education
Professional Caregivers
Medications

 

Living at Home/Community Living

Based on current trends, families and individuals will have more options available to them with respect to where they spend the remaining time of their life. As the aging population continues to grow, unlike the past, more and more older adults are moving closer to where their adult children and grandchildren reside. As new communities are developed there will be a greater trend towards comprehensive living arrangements whereby single-family homes will include “in-law” units to accommodate an aging parent. In addition, more states will begin to adopt special certifications for facilities housing persons with dementia-related diseases. The current trend towards increased development of Assisted Living Facilities will continue, however more of these facilities will be more comprehensive in design and include a variety of levels of care that would include independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing all on the same property.

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Aging baby-boomers are going to continue to set the trend for healthy lifestyles into their “golden age.” Many physical and nutritional products will become more noticeable in the coming years. This is evidenced by the growth in yoga and Pilates classes which places an emphasis on creating flexibility and strength in joints and limbs while also developing the needed neurological responses to help keep our mind and body in sync. With the added research and education offered to current aging adults on healthy diets there will be resurgence on the value of healthy food products. Along with this will be the added value of vitamins and supplemental products to help slow the aging process. Furthermore we will continue to see persons living longer and retiring later. In some cases there will be older adults willing to work part-time in order to keep active and involved, as well as meet growing financial needs. Senior volunteer opportunities will also increase in a variety of settings including museums, zoos, hospitals, and even within assisted living facilities. As we experience greater longevity there will be increased demand for recreational and social activities that involve age appropriate social activity. There will be an increase in the number of group vacation plans for persons over the age of 65 who are socially active.

Internet and Self-Education

There is a current trend towards connecting the aging population with information through the Internet. The Internet is highly useful to provide the general consumer information on health concerns, how to find a physician, understanding their medications and side effects, and to help in identifying resources. There are new products coming out utilizing the Internet as a method to monitor the activities of a parent when no one else is in the home providing care or supervision. In addition, technology will be developed that will help us keep in higher contact with our physicians and family.

Professional Caregivers

Another notable trend will be the emphasis on having caregivers who are trained to manage and care for our aging populace. Some facilities require professional caregivers to earn  a specified number of continuing education credits to show that they are qualified to care for persons with dementia-related diseases. With the increase in home care costs, many families are going to want to examine how care providers are trained. Since there will be more public knowledge of possible elder abuse and neglect, many families are going to demand that trained, bonded, and insured care providers are placed in their parents’ home.

Medications

With the use of the Internet, consumers will become more educated on the use of prescribed medications. Consumers will continue to explore the use of alternative medications, such as herbal and nutritional supplements. This will also lead to the growing trend of certain medicines added, or removed, from the available list as drug interactions and side effects become better known. They will also seek out information from their local pharmacist in order to understand side effects and possible alternatives to the drugs they are taking as an alternative to getting the information from their primary care physician. There will also be an increase in the number of geriatric social workers, physicians and psychiatrists available who are prepared to answer and respond to the growing questions related to the changes  associated with the aging process.

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