Re-Thinking Health Systems for Aging Populations Worldwide

Message from Paul Hogan, Co-Founder, Home Instead Senior Care, Inc.


Positioning health systems to address demographic changes and implement new knowledge is a basic responsibility of a government to its people. Industrialized countries have a tremendous track record in defeating, preventing and treating disease, extending life expectancies in the 20th century during the antibiotic era. Small pox and polio are two examples of the diseases largely eradicated.

Public health and modern medicine created today’s longevity bonus. An aging population is a major positive factor in the wealth of countries, if healthcare costs can be contained. Economically, healthy aging is a considerable factor in controlling costs.

Linda P. Fried and Jack Rowe, from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and I explore future health systems in Global Population Ageing: Peril or Promise?, a book produced by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Ageing Society. Our chapter entitled “Design and Operation of Health Systems in Wealthy Industrial Countries” is on pages 61-64 and offers proactive recommendations.

We propose five areas for re-engineering the medical care model to respond to the aging of society and focus on optimizing health at all stages of life, briefly summarized below:

  • Paying more attention to prevention and public health; moving from hospital, acute care and institutional care to community-based care.
  • Including new models for senior care that offer cost-effective approaches to optimizing health outcomes within a coordinated continuum of prevention and care that includes home, community, clinic, hospital and long-term care settings.
  • Preventing chronic disease and senior risks, such as falls and frailty, in older adults through individualized plans to optimize health within a healthy environment.
  • Varying models of care and effective targeting for the diverse, older population.
  • Offering supportive care for seniors who choose to age in place at home. Community-based personal care should be planned for and delivered across a variety of settings including home, community and institutions.

By building the right model, industrialized countries should increase societal benefits while decreasing healthcare costs to their citizens. Designing this new model is vital to developing countries, as they have the opportunity to move directly to systems based on healthy aging.

As always, I am open to your feedback. Home Instead Senior Care is committed to working with elected officials to anticipate and address the opportunities of healthy aging.


Paul R. Hogan

Paul Hogan is Chairman & Founder of Home Instead Senior Care and, with his wife Lori, co-author of Stages of Senior Care: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Best Decisions.


One thought on “Re-Thinking Health Systems for Aging Populations Worldwide

  1. Tina

    It’s amazing to think about what a difference in-home care can make in the lives of our aging population…helping to manage the current conditions they deal with, and help prevent future conditions (be decreasing the risk of falling, for example).

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