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Fact Finder: Aging Baby Boomers Pt. 2

10,000 baby boomers a day turn 65, and they're rushing towards the doors of doctor's offices and hospitals faster than they may be ready for. What's being done to prepare for the most seniors the country has ever seen?

The hospital isn't necessarily the easiest or most convenient place for older people to navigate. With more of them scheduling appointments, hospitals like Albany Medical Center are re-thinking their delivery models.

"We need to bring many of our services closer to the population as demand grows and as they age," said Dr. Ferdinand Venditti, Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs at Albany Med.

Doctors encourage boomers to play a part in their own fate, and how much they pay for it.

"It's already causing us to rethink what types of services we provide, and also the role the people themselves play in their own healthcare," said Dr. Philip McCallion, sociologist at UAlbany.

As baby boomers age, you may see more faces in the hallways of hospitals, but you will likely see more people in the exam room.

The American Hospital Association predicts 6 in 10 boomers will have a chronic illness by 2030. Group appointments could reduce the wait to see a doctor.

"Half a dozen, ten patients let's say, with heart failure all come to a single appointment," Dr. Venditti said.

The patients would be acting almost as doctors themselves. "One patient may recognize something that another patient's saying, that okay, that's important to me as well," Dr. Venditti said.

While our grandparents may not have been tech saavy, boomers may save themselves by their digital skill. Northeast Health's Eddy System is trying to keep seniors out of nursing homes with home care.

"To get into that program, you need to qualify to be in a nursing home," Michelle Mazzacco said. "We keep five-hundred patients a day out of a nursing home."

Patients are experimenting with blood pressure monitors, and a new kind of medical alert necklace that feels if you fall, and an automatic pharmacy for the average thirteen medications a day boomers will need. "It looks no bigger than the size of a coffee pot sitting on your counter and you have a caregiver or our nursing staff can be pre-fill the unit with these little plastic cups," Mazzacco said. "Each cup contains one dose of your medication."

Most of this costs less than residence in a nursing home would. In some cases, it's $9,000 a month.

 
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