Is the Baby Boomer Generation not going to get good care?

  1. You know, when all these Baby Boomer aged health care professionals finally retire, do you believe the next generations will be enough, to 'care' for the Baby Boomers, such a huge generation of people?

    Also, do you think that the percentages of young students going into and sticking with nursing is as high as in earlier days?

    There are so many other ways to make money, and with all of the cut backs and the unforgiving nature of nursing, do you forsee a big problem with getting adequate numbers of nurses to staff facilities?
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  2. 92 Comments

  3. by   Jules A
    My guess is more and more unlicensed personnel will be added to do the basics. The majority of young-ins I'm in contact with don't seem to have any interest in being an actual nurse

    Personally I'm not too worried as my iron-clad advanced directive pretty much guarantees I'll contract some sort of bug or condition, not treat it and croak hopefully in a brief amount of time.
  4. by   RNperdiem
    Being middle class today is harder to achieve. Nursing is popular now because of the stability, good pay and other factors.
    I suspect more young people starting college are choosing majors that lead right into a job- like nursing.
    Student debt is a big problem for many, and people are playing it safe.
    When my baby boomer parents were young, any college degree could lead to a good paying job in a company that would be willing to train. My Dad was a "company man" for many stable, middle class years. Those days are gone. A college degree without an internship, useful connections or a related job is a bigger financial risk.
    The baby boomers will have plenty of caretakers. Healthcare has a reputation of being a place where the jobs are.
  5. by   cleback
    I second the increase use of unlicensed personnel. More and more is being treated outpatient... and honestly, nurses make a smaller piece of the pie in the community.

    The structure of care is definitely evolving, which will be more obvious with the baby boomers needing more care. Whether or not that translates into poorer outcomes has yet to be seen.
  6. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from Cola89
    You know, when all these Baby Boomer aged health care professionals finally retire, do you believe the next generations will be enough, to 'care' for the Baby Boomers, such a huge generation of people?
    Masses of Baby Boomers have already been entering the healthcare system over the past couple of decades. However, they've trickled into the system instead of swamped it all at once. For instance, my Boomer mother, age 58, spent several weeks in a hospital before succumbing to her multiple health problems last month.

    Countless Boomers who engaged in hard living in their youth (e.g. unhealthy lifestyles, drugs, heavy smoking) are the 50-somethings and 60-somethings who now live in nursing homes and personal care group homes permanently due to major CVAs and/or being noncompliant diabetics. Many diabetic Boomer nursing home residents are disabled due to bilateral limb amputations, chronic dialysis, etc.
    Quote from Cola89
    Also, do you think that the percentages of young students going into and sticking with nursing is as high as in earlier days?
    Prior to the 1970s, the average nurse remained in the profession for a whopping five to seven years before exiting. The profession was filled by youngish females who left nursing once they married and/or had their first child.

    Nowadays, an increasing number of people pursue nursing due to changes in society. Many men in this day and age no longer earn enough money to support a wife and several children on one income, so the housewife pathway is closed off to most women. Also, nursing is seen as one of those careers that leads directly to gainful employment after graduation.
    Quote from Cola89
    There are so many other ways to make money, and with all of the cut backs and the unforgiving nature of nursing, do you forsee a big problem with getting adequate numbers of nurses to staff facilities?
    There are more than enough nurses to adequately staff all of the facilities in the U.S. as I type this post. However, the bean counters at healthcare facilities would rather engage in short-staffing for reasons that would render this post lengthier than it already is.
  7. by   calivianya
    I can't speak from experience because I didn't start my career in nursing until 2013, but I hear nursing used to be a better field to work in for many, many reasons.

    I think there will be adequate nurses to staff units. People do flood into nursing because of the good pay right out of school. However, the more obnoxious the hospital environment gets, the more I think people will be flooding out of it almost as soon as they flood in. I predict the elusive 20 year bedside nurse may start becoming a thing of the past... because people will get the heck out of healthcare, or at least out of the hospital environment at least, long before that mark, and the majority of nurses in the hospital will be new grads with no experienced nurses around to teach them.
  8. by   sallyrnrrt
    It's why I live on an 88ac cattle farm, and commute 7miles to a physician office..for full time employment, even at 68yr age....... When I get too old to sustain employment, or make it to town for groceries, if I can not provide on my self sustaining farm.....guess I just check out
  9. by   KatieMI
    Boomers will get care - but I am not sure it will be the kind of care they imagine.

    I like to tell people that, for the last 500.000 years or so, humans were evolving in a world where living beyond 50 was a rare event for them. After we stop being highly fertile, we are, from the point of view of evolution (or the Creator, if one so prefers), useless and so must die in order to free resources for future generations. Our knees, hips, spine, hearts, kidneys, pancreases and possibly brains are not designed to function as long as we want them to do. Therefore, if we still would like to gamble with the evolution and win, we must start with taking exemplary care of themselves, do it early, and do not put too extravagant requests onto our bodies. This way, wear and tear can be decreased and the whole thing will hopefully last longer.

    I do not have anything against knee replacements, aortic valve repairs and other methods of treatment of what is, essentially, that age-related wear and tear. But boomers demand much more than that, and this is the problem. They want to live the way they were in their thirties - while applying as little efforts as physically possible and think that popping ma' pills for this, that and every single little thing is enough trouble to "take care of myself" after years and years of abusing their bodies in every imaginable way. Who in the right mind would even think about fully staffed dialysis, tele-equipped and memory care "cabins" on a cruise ship 30 years ago?? Yet, I just deleted such job invitation from my junkmail folder. No, thank you very much.

    This madness aiming to create "satisfied customers" instead of respected and rich with memories and wisdom elders is going to end. I expect it to end rather soon because no healthcare system in the world will be able to provide "100% possible" care for that many citizens. The voices of common sense are already starting to note absolutely inhumanity of, for one example, chemo in clearly terminal cases. My only one question is, how many more elderly folks are going to die terrible deaths before it finally happens?
  10. by   AliNajaCat
    Katie, Commuter...you're scaring me!

    Just got over six weeks of great misery with pneumonia and ear complications. Now you tell me I'm looking at what I would have called premature institutionalization because I'm a boomer? OMG...

    Used to be that about 5% of over-65s were in SNFs. Has that percentage really changed, or is it just the raw numbers that are up?
  11. by   HouTx
    But boomers demand much more than that, and this is the problem. They want to live the way they were in their thirties - while applying as little efforts as physically possible
    Stereotype much?? Boomer here. That isn't even vaguely close to describing me or anyone I know. I wonder if it's a regional thing? One thing for sure, we want to be active participants in our care. We aren't afraid to insist on explanations & tend to get very grumpy with condescending attitudes about "old people", whether it's from our auto mechanic or health care provider.

    Health care in the US is evolving rapidly - mostly driven by ACA-mandated changes. Who knows what's going to happen now that the focus is on eliminating/reversing all of the last major legislation. At any rate, the main determinant of staffing in any setting will continue to be DEMAND, not supply.... The number of nurses caring for patients will be decided by how many nursing jobs are available. Shrinking labor budgets are triggering a return to "team nursing" and increased use of UAPs. That's the reality.
  12. by   ThePrincessBride
    The Commuter,

    I just wanted to say that I am sorry for your loss. Fifty-eight is so young.
  13. by   KatieMI
    Quote from HouTx
    Stereotype much?? Boomer here. That isn't even vaguely close to describing me or anyone I know. I wonder if it's a regional thing? One thing for sure, we want to be active participants in our care. We aren't afraid to insist on explanations & tend to get very grumpy with condescending attitudes about "old people", whether it's from our auto mechanic or health care provider.
    I am sorry that it hurts your feelings but facts are here:

    Medscape: Medscape Access

    1 out of 5 has DIAGNOSED diabetes, 40% obese, >50% prevalence of DIAGNOSED HTN. That's not cancer or OA. These are classical diseases brought up by indulgences of modern American lifestyle. Yet, for every chronic disease except Alzheimer, the life expectation is increasing - in other words, these people live longer despite of being chronically sick. The expendures from all sources to support all those people are rising accordingly. Despite of several causes for cautious optimism, like more seniors hitting gyms and less of them smoking (which gave some the thought abouut naming boomers "the healthiest generation": The Status of Baby Boomers' Health in the United States | Cardiology | JAMA Internal Medicine | The JAMA Network) there is still a fact: this generation contains a lot of chronically sick people.

    Now, if you ask where all these sick people go to, you'll see precisely what Commuter said: according to Medicare (2013), out of 10.000 beneficiaries, 930 receied Home health Skilled care, 670 were in SNF, 99.7 inpatient rehab and 36.8 in LTACH (the latter part not being even in existence 30 years ago, as there were no such thing as "critically chronically sick"). Overall, out of 10.000 Medicare beneficiaries, in 2013 over 17% received continous medical care, without which they wouldn't last long (JAMDA.

    Possibly by pure accidence, the rate of hospitalization among patients from 45 to 85 due to opioid overdoses increased 500% from 2003 to 2012, and rate of deaths due to "ma' pain pills" increased 700%. Baby Boomer Retirement: Dangerous Prescription Painkiller Addictions - Opioids

    Also meanwhile, the definition of "polypharmacy" is taking more than 4 Rx meds (A Baby Boomer’s New Year Resolution: Ask Your Doctor about Your Medicines : SLU). This is an average number taken by a 50 y/o man per day (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1646705.html).

    I did my last semester clinical in rural Michigan in a IM clinic with 70% Medicare/Medicaid population. The mean age was around 57, and the mean number of drugs per patient on an audit was 7, with 60% of patients receiving at least one with high addiction potential. In my current place, we normally have boomers supposed to take 40 to 50 pills a day, thanks to local "teaching facility". We had to refuse to see a few patients every working day because they demand all their "pain and nerve pills" to be filled at once for 3 months or so while they are going to Arisona.

    You may be not like these people (like I am absolutely not so many women of my generation), but the facts are here: too many Boomers are getting sick and sicker, and now this is too late to do anything effective with that. Their HTN, DM and such had to be treated in 1990th at the latest to get some positive outcomes.
    Last edit by KatieMI on Feb 16
  14. by   amoLucia
    Dang! This post is scary. Realistic for this boomer here with some problems as discussed.

    Very thoughtful and sobering responses from PPs.

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