Assisted living: an overview
The current healthcare system will have to adapt to cope with the rapid rise in the older population and the increased incidence of debilitating chronic diseases (many linked to lifestyle rather than age per se) predicted over the next 40 years.
One in five people will be over 60 years of age by 2050. Around 60% of deaths annually already can be attributed to hard-to-treat chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer, at great cost to society.
Nevertheless, today’s ageing and chronically ill population wish to maintain their independence and quality of life: assisted living products and services aim to help them fulfil these aspirations.
Two markets that are essential components of the assisted living market are: home medical equipment and digital healthcare. A wider use of home medical equipment and digital healthcare is expected to benefit patients, care providers and payers by:
- allowing people to remain in their home and live independently for as long as possible;
- increasing the quality of care by providing physicians with actionable information (home monitors and sensors);
- reducing healthcare costs by decreasing hospital stay through preventative care.
The opportunity for economic benefit is dual: digital healthcare technologies will increase the cost effectiveness of the healthcare system; and development of these technologies and provision of associated services will boost economic development.
Scotland has key strengths in this field because of its industrial and academic base but also due to proactive government policies.
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