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Putting a Spotlight on Health Care for Seniors

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A rising population could lead to future economic issues in health care as the average lifespan is increasing.

Robert Eisenstadt, professor of economics at the University of Louisiana Monroe, said the increase in population will impact the health care system financially.

“There’s going to be a lot of pressure on the fiscal demands of the federal government and the whole health care system in general,” Eisenstadt said. “When you start increasing the demand for anything, you start creating upward pressure on pricing. So, I would expect there to be some major changes down the road.”

Dr. Anita Sharma, Program Director of Gerontology at ULM, said the senior population will double in the coming years. “In the next 10 years, we will have twice the number of older adults,” Sharma said. “By 2035 we will have more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 17.”

The average lifespan in the country is increasing, which is putting more pressure on the economy, according to Sharma.

Eisenstadt said that the average lifespan increasing is part of the reason for the rising cost of health care now.

“As we’re living longer, we’re subjecting ourselves to more diseases and health issues that require treatment or attention,” Eisenstadt said. “It’s sort of becoming self-fulfilling in a way.”

Eisenstadt said he is in favor of living a long time and finds it interesting that Alzheimer’s, including other associated cognitive impairments, is going to put more pressure on the demand for nursing care. “For a lot of Americans, that actually comes out of Medicaid spending,” Eisenstadt said.

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