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Trends in elderly care, part 2: What does the increasing ageing population mean for healthcare?

The increasingly ageing population means that changes are also afoot in care for the elderly. In the previous article in this series, we took a look at the elderly population in 2030. In this article, we’ll discuss the possible consequences for future caretakers and the healthcare sector itself.

A shortage of caretakers poses a threat

By 2060, 44.4 million over-65s will need help with their daily activities - twice as many as today. In addition, the ageing population will increase significantly in the coming years. This means that the number of people over 65 will increase in relation to the potential working population. This means that there may be a chronic lack of qualified employees in the healthcare sector, so much so that in 2060 there will only be one carer for every 51 people over 80.

This shortage does not only apply to professional caretakers: the number of potential informal caregivers will also decrease over the next 10 years. Currently, around 60% of care in the EU is provided by informal caregivers. The total number of caregivers would have to increase by between 20% and 50% by 2050 in order to sustain the current ratio of informal carers to those in need of care. `In the future, seniors will also increasingly be childless. As a result, informal care will increasingly have to be provided by peers. However, these people often suffer from health problems themselves, making informal care ineffective.

Need for a care model without walls

Just like the seniors, the care professionals themselves will also change significantly in the coming years. Their approach will be increasingly focused on resilience and self- and co-reliance. Moreover, we expect that care will increasingly take place at the senior’s home. This requires an adapted care model that is also adequate outside the walls of the residential care centre.

In this case, healthcare facilities will operate as an integrated part of society, providing care outside their own walls, without loss of quality or extra workload for the caretakers. Technology will play a very important role in this.

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The importance of technology is increasing

The need for physical support can partly be met by technology. In fact, the market for technological care applications has increased sevenfold in the last four years. Moreover, elderly people are becoming increasingly digitally literate. For example, no less than 80% would like to use a personal alarm and 1 in 3 people in their 60s are open to a warning system with sensors or cameras in the home.

It is important that the privacy of the elderly is not violated. At Jane, we are well aware of this. Our system consists of a combination of alarm buttons, artificial intelligence and movement sensors that only detect temperature and movement. In this way, caregivers can keep an eye on things while the privacy of the elderly is not invaded.

Stronger together for the future

It is certain, however, that the ageing population will only increase in the coming decade. Of course, this will have implications, both for the elderly and for their carers and the healthcare sector as such. 

That is why, with Jane, we are already working on a hybrid care model that is accessible to everyone. A senior living at home can be supported by Jane, with family or friends as caregivers. If that becomes too burdensome, Jane can also be linked to all existing forms of care provision. In this way, an ecosystem can be created between all the parties whereby Jane helps to relieve pressure wherever and whenever it is needed.

Would you like to discuss the future of healthcare and how we can support you? Our experts would be happy to meet with you.