Top Issues that Affect Baby Boomers

At this year’s World Medical Tourism and Global Health Congress, keynote speaker Dr. Jeanette Takamura, Dean of the School of Social Work at Columbia University identified the following as the top issues that affect baby boomers:

  • Chronic disease
  • Prevention
  • Education
  • Mental health
  • Physical activity

If we look closer at the above factors, we see that different demographics are affected in different ways by each of them.

  • Chronic disease is determined not just by lifestyle choices but also by genes. So some sections of the population are prone to diseases like cancer, asthma, osteoporosis and diabetes because of their genetic makeup while others become victims because of unhealthy and irresponsible habits accrued over a lifetime.
  • Prevention of disease is more common in sections of the population that are more aware of the dangers of unhealthy habits and anticipate the problems that aging and physical and mental degradation can cause.
  • Education plays a large role in determining the amount of awareness baby boomers have about disease, aging and preventive measures. While it’s not always the rule, in general, the more educated the person, the higher their level of awareness.
  • Mental health is prone to degeneration as the years go by; however, research has shown that the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia can be slowed and delayed by being aware that they exist and working on ways to keep brain cells active and healthy. Mental health is also determined by genetic factors and lifestyle choices.
  • Physical activity plays a key role in good health; baby boomers who are aware of this tend to be in better physical and mental condition than those who eschew any kind of activity because of laziness or ignorance.

A combined look at all the issues that affect baby boomers tells us that those who are blessed with good genes and those who are aware of the preventive measures that need to be adopted to keep mental and physical disease at bay are the ones who are relatively in good health for their age. Some are just plain lucky, others get this way due to hard work and a healthy lifestyle. While it’s too late for baby boomers who are already plagued by ill health, it’s time for the rest of us to realize that we are on the way to becoming senior citizens, and that if we don’t wise up and accept responsibility for our health today, we’re going to be facing poor health, exorbitant insurance and medical costs, and a very poor quality of life as we take the curve and turn onto the road called old age.