— By Raj Narayan
The global geriatric population is rising at an unprecedented rate and is estimated to double by 2050 and treble by 2100. In actual terms, the number is likely to grow from 962 million in 2017 to 2.1 billion within the next three decades and to 3.1 billion by 2100. While the absolute numbers suggests that close to half of the world population would be geriatric over the next 80 years, a bigger challenge is that the number of elderly people seeking care from the younger ones will grow exponentially each year.
These numbers thrown up by a research report prepared by Coherent Market Insights (CMI) suggest that the global markets are under-prepared to tackle this pace of ageing = both in terms of the disease burden as well as the social and healthcare systems.
The report points out that high-income countries could be stressed to tackle this issue, often facing a caregiving cliff for the geriatric population. In the United States, it is the unpaid family caregivers who provide the highest assistance. At the other end, there is China where a whopping 32 percent of the senescent population (aged above 60) reported poor health with 38 percent of those having a tough time handling daily living activities.
An interesting change that the report perceives is the shift in care facilitation itself. In 2017, nursing care accounted for the largest revenue share in global geriatric care services market but a year later, home healthcare segment is showing faster growth. The report predicts that this segment will show the fastest CAGR during the forecast period of 2018-2026, accounting for over 30 per cent of the market.
The reasons would a shift in preference of the senescent population to move healthcare to their homes, and efforts to reduce in-patient costs that forces hospitals to move such patients to home care. In the developed countries, regulations that support reimbursement of home care services are likely to drive this growth as would the growth in social services segment.
The report goes on to suggest that over 70 per cent of home care facilities would be managed by private or for-profit institutions with many becoming a part of a national or international chain. In contrast, the not-for-profit facilities and services would be owned by groups with professional, charitable and faith based organizations, thus implying a higher purpose for serving the residents.
“Major drawbacks of for-profit care services such as low staffing levels, high deficiencies observed by public agencies, and causing jeopardy or harm to the residents has urged individuals to opt for non-profit institutions, therefore rendering the fastest market growth to the latter segment,” the report says.
In terms of markets, North America was the largest one for geriatric services followed by Europe in 2017. While these two regions will maintain their dominance during 2018-2026, the newer markets of China and India will face a grave situation in terms of caregiving. Others such as Japan and Thailand would see a robust growth in services and quality during this period, the report concludes.
(The author is a Counsellor, NLP Practitioner and works as Executive Director of Winage™)