ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania – Most organizations and nonprofits focus on maternity and infant healthcare in developing countries. That is where the money, resources and time are spent. On the contrary, not much is spent on the older portion of the population, the 60 and older crowd.
One in nine people are over 60 worldwide, with two-thirds living in developing countries. The number continues to grow because of the aging baby boomers, better nutrition, increases in education and improvements in sanitation. The ratio of older people to the young is only to grow as family sizes decrease. By 2050, the number of people over 60 will be 21% of the population.
With the number of people over 60 growing, it has become important to address the needs of a ballooning demographic. That is why the U.N. decided to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals for 2015, which includes a health agenda for the older generations. The plan will give clinics and health centers in developing countries the resources needed to address the health symptoms of older people. Those older than 50 will not have be turned away from health centers.
The areas that will need the most focus will be Africa, Asia and Latin America. These places will see the largest increase in their older population and thus the U.N. needs to focus on developing the heathcare in these places the most.
Clinics would not just have vaccines for young children, but also enough insulin to treat diabetics, for example. There will be resources to deal with cancer, failing eyesight, heart diseases, arthritis, etc. This can be a challenge, as healthcare centers will have to adapt to treating more elderly people than before.
If these issues can be addressed before they become serious problems, then future serious health issues can be avoided and risks minimized. In the long run, there would be less financial and resource-wise stress on health centers. Additionally, a healthier population of all ages, not just youth and mothers, would be beneficial. Even older people would have the chance to receive life-saving care.
– Katherine Hewitt