Baby boomers can hardly believe it themselves. In 11 short years – by 2020 – they will hold that unthinkable collective title of “the older generation.”
Just as that milestone looms large, so do statistical realities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2020 almost 20 percent of the U.S. population will be over 65; over 12 million people will be over 85; more than 500,000 Americans will be over 100 – the fastest growing age group of all!
How fast can you say “geriatrics”? The field is exploding by necessity. And providers are realizing the best way to tame projected healthcare needs is by taking preventive, proactive measures – now.
One area rife with possibility is brain fitness.
Yet baby boomers live in fear of Alzheimer’s disease and its accompanying dementia, rating it second only to cancer as their most dreaded medical diagnosis.
There is good news: there’s plenty that can be done to prevent cognitive loss by keeping the brain enriched. Clearly, nurses need to be on the cutting edge of awareness to help aging patients and families stay on the healthy aging highway.
Paul Nussbaum, PhD, associate adjunct professor, department of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania has been lecturing across the country in an effort to educate healthcare providers, senior specialists and John Q. Public of the necessity for brain fitness.
The Promise of Brain Fitnes with Dr. Paul Nussbaum
With the recent news of the loss of the oldest man who was 113 when he died, attention is being paid to the fact that more people are living to 100 than ever before. By the middle of this century there will be approximately 6 million persons who are 100 or older. Indeed, the median age in developed countries to 50 and re-defines “middle age”.
The baby boom generation is certainly more focused on personal health than prior generations, there is more attention to diet and exercise, doctors are treating older individuals aggressively with advanced interventions, and genetics all play a role with living longer.
Japan will have the most centenarians in 2050 with 627,000 or 1% of their total population. Greece, Italy, Monaco, and Singapore will also have high numbers of those living to 100. The United States centenarians will increase from 75,000 to more than 600,000 by 2050. These are persons currently described as baby boomers and there will certainly be increased health care costs related to this demographic shift.
This demographic shift will have enormous impact across all sectors of life and across the globe.
A healthy lifestyle is key to reducing the risk of illness and chronic disease. By reducing excess intake of calories, saturated fat, sodium and simple sugars and increasing intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meats, baby boomers may help reduce their risk of developing heart disease, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
A diet low in saturated fat is among the top recommendations from health professionals to promote heart health and reduce the risk of cancer. Registered dietitian and baby boomer Susie Langley recognizes the challenge of keeping active and eating well, but argues that with just a little more effort boomers could be better off in the long run.
Read More:Baby Boomers can eat their way to better health