Aging population shows need for health care reform

With baby boomers now hitting their 60's and those aged 80 and older the fastest growing segment of our population, we can expect a huge increase in healthcare costs in the near future.

This thought is overwhelming considering we already have problems with access to our healthcare system, soaring costs and long waitlists. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning and as a nationwide community we should be taking serious and practical steps to improve things before the entire system falls flat under the increased weight of an aging population.

According to European statistics, the number of young people will fall by 18 per cent between 2004 and 2050, the working age population will drop by 16 per cent and the elderly population of individuals aged 65 or older will increase by 77 per cent. Those aged 80 or older will increase by a staggering 174 per cent.

Similar statistics for the US claim that by the year 2030, one in five Americans will be over the age of 65. There is no reason to believe that we will have a much different scenario in Canada.

So, unless there is a major revolution in how we provide and fund health care we have a looming crisis on our hands. I would urge everyone to have this in mind and ask politicians at all levels what preparations are being made in this community, province and country to handle the increased burden that is on its way.

In the US, less than half of all communities have even begun to plan for the increased healthcare usage of an aging population.

Some optimism does lie in the astounding advances that are being made in medicine today. A growing number of breakthroughs are reported almost daily that build on the discoveries coming out of the Human Genome Project and other biomedical research around the world.

A lot of these breakthroughs do have to do with age related diseases such as Alzheimer's where we are getting ever closer to understanding the molecular biology behind the illness.

Vaccines are also under development for some forms of cancer, such as cervical cancer and these could greatly help in preventing life threatening and expensive illnesses from developing.

Many treatments that seem like science fiction today, will hopefully be common place in the not-too-distant future and it is this kind of science that can help to revolutionize health care and hopefully stave off at least part of the seemingly inevitable healthcare disaster that is evolving.

Today, research is focusing on ways to tailor treatments to each individual so that we can deliver the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.

Let's hope that continued advances in medical research as well as some strategic planning by our communities can help to ensure that Canadians receive good healthcare in the future.

 

Current Studies

 Alzheimer's Disease 

 Parkinson's Disease

 

more

 

 

 Interested in participating? Call us for more information!

more