Will We Have Enough Geriatricians?

The year 1946 and the following 15 years irrevocably changed the dynamic of every generation down the line.  During this post-World War II era, relieved citizens spawned a record-breaking number of new births, creating what we now call the “Baby Boomers”.

The Baby Boomer generation forged life as we know it over the next 50 years.  However, as this group comes into their golden years, retirement, healthcare and social security are being put to the test to keep up with the high demand for services.

One of the most lagging areas of concern is medical care.  Younger patients typically have illnesses that can be treated in the short-term, like the flu and infections, thus requiring fewer resources.  What we are seeing now is that due to the high number of Baby Boomers, there isn’t adequate specialized treatment and care from geriatricians to meet the needs of this older population.  Diseases like Alzheimer’s, hypertension (and other cardiovascular issues), and cancer are proving to be particularly common in this age group.

One disturbing statistic claims that there is only one geriatrician for every 9,400 U.S. adults over the age of 65.  Additionally, only about 8% of all medical schools support a full geriatrics training department. Clearly, geriatric healthcare is an underserved market that needs to be addressed.  In fact, experts predict that by 2030, about 1 in 5 Americans will be a Baby Boomer. At this rate, the bad news is that it doesn’t look like there will be enough geriatricians for the Baby Boomer generation.  The good news is that new medical technology and discoveries may be able to help supplement this gap in the healthcare system.

In addition to technology, medical professionals are urging Baby Boomers to take the situation into their own hands by making healthy lifestyle choices that will serve them well into old age.  Proven tactics like eating a good diet, maintaining an active life, and being involved in mentally challenging activities could serve the elderly generation better than any doctor or medical technique.

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