The Future of Healthcare is Booming

The Future of Healthcare is Booming

The Future of Healthcare is Booming
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Maria Zamora, CEO of Center for Elders Independence. (Photo courtesy CEI)

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (August 11, 2022) — In eight short years, all Baby Boomers will be age 65 or older with 8.6 million of them living right here in California.

Every day, around 10,000 Americans reach the milestone age of 65. These changing demographics create an enormous need for healthcare services ranging from preventative care to managing chronic conditions; from age-friendly programs to senior supportive housing.

In recognizing the opportunities and challenges this shift brings, California Governor Gavin Newsom released his Master Plan for Aging in 2021. Counties and cities throughout the state are signing onto the World Health Age Friendly cities plan. Both plans help governments, private organizations and charities create and promote healthcare, open spaces, housing and more to build age-friendly places for all generations to live and prosper.

One senior program addresses the shifting need from skilled nursing facilities to home and community-based services that also dove tails into the Governor’s long term goals. The Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) has provided wrap-around care to California seniors for over 50 years. Currently, there are 24 PACE programs in 22 California counties taking great care of over 16,000 older adults. In the San Francisco Bay Area, PACE serves San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Clara counties.

Healthcare strains

Nationally, the healthcare industry was strained by the COVID-19 pandemic and suffered large workforce losses due to overwork, exhaustion and early retirement with over 3% of healthcare providers leaving the field.

In order to meet the growing demand for senior healthcare services, California will need thousands of direct care workers. We need nurses, therapists and homecare workers. Opportunities are growing in areas of nursing, social workers, drivers, activity aides and home care support. Medical doctors and psychologists will also find working with seniors to be greatly rewarding.

PACE organizations see firsthand the challenges of senior healthcare and feels the pinch of needing more trained staff to meet the oncoming demand.

It’s essential that California provides the financial support necessary to educate and train key members of the healthcare team. We need education scholarships to support nurses who desire to move into senior healthcare as well as student loan forgiveness in return for years of service in local healthcare organizations. California has made some good policy changes to support healthcare workers through stipends and other funding sources to attract and train a solid workforce.

It’s very clear that as 8.6 million Californians reach retirement age, the importance of senior services and healthcare will also dramatically grow. Whether it is in supportive housing or in-home medical care, there is an opportunity for each of us to play a significant role in building age-friendly communities.

For more information on the Center for Elders’ Independence, click here.

Maria Zamora

Maria Zamora became CEO of Center for Elders’ Independence in March 2021, bringing more than 24 years of experience in the healthcare and insurance industries. She has held executive management positions in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, and has an extensive background in PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly).