By Simon Bond

A fire has been lit under the baby boomers' relentless rise in healthcare spending. The basic reason is that healthcare spending per capita is a very strong function of chronological age — with the cost rising exponentially from age 20 on. The per-capita cost of a 60-year-old is about double that of 40-year-old. The cost of 80-year-old is roughly double that of a 60-year-old. And so on.

As the U.S. population (and other nations with a similar demographic profile) becomes top-heavy with seniors, the healthcare expenses associated with older age brackets will skyrocket.

This cost boom will be further multiplied by adverse health trends such as obesity and diabetes.

Baby boomers are also fuelling demand for New Age products and services in the 65-plus age bracket. They will augment traditional medicine with alternative remedies — including supplements, coaches, traditional Chinese medicine, and other “wellness” solutions.

Rock gardens, ministers, mindfulness sessions, and even psychotropic drugs are already becoming a staple of oncology units and hospices. 

This trend extends to food. While previous generations of seniors were happy with their favourite brands, boomer seniors will go “all natural” by increasingly visiting organic and farmers-type food markets.

But, perhaps the largest healthcare expansion of all will occur outside the realm of medicine. With more seniors living alone at times or on the move, boomers (and their children) will increasingly hire professionals to handle everyday tasks like household chores and transportation.

One of the most promising growth areas is telehealth and related opportunities. Although just 15% of family physicians used telehealth services in their practices last year, that share is sure to expand rapidly in future years. The acceleration will begin in rural areas where access to specialists is limited.

As internet speeds increase and broadband connectivity permeates it's way through the community, this area will see ongoing growth and opportunities.

Healthcare, medicine, biotech and connectivity, it's all destiny and it's only just begun.