Older Americans Have Never Been Better But What About Millennials?

According to a Yale School of Medicine study which examined older Americans Medicare patients over a period of 15 years, we have witnessed an estimated 20% drop in mortality, about 30% fewer hospitalizations, and 40% reduction in deaths after hospitalization.

The news should “give us reassurance about our current efforts”, but it should not “make us complacent,” researchers warned.

American society has changed much over the last decades and this process of ‘modernization’ has profoundly affected our lives. It’s undeniable that currently we live quite different lives from those living only a generation ago. But will medicine and social change not only make us live longer, but also live better?

Researchers looked at older Americans

Published in JAMA’s theme issue on Medicare and Medicaid at 50, the study analyzed national trends in mortality, hospitalizations, outcomes, and expenditures from all causes in older Americans from 1999 to 2013.

Data on over 68,374,904 Medicare recipients 65 years of age or older was collected, from key demographic groups and geographic areas, researchers said.

Overall, mortality rates and the total number of hospitalizations for major surgery have declined. Average length of time spent in the hospital as well as the average inpatient costs per Medicare fee-for-service recipient have also decreased.

“We are in the midst of a remarkable era of improvements in health and health care in America,” said lead author Harlan M. Krumholz. “This decline represents millions of hospitalizations averted and hundreds of thousands of deaths delayed.”

“People are better off now,” Krumholz told Reuters Health. Yet researchers have highlighted the importance of seeking to continue advances in technology, health behaviours and policies, and quality of care, in order to keep this “remarkable trend” going.

Current quality of life

Several studies and articles have examined the million dollar question: “Are you better off today than you were 10 years ago?.” Well, research shows that over the past two decades the U.S. has been improving by more than 20% over most social wellness metrics. From high school dropout rates and drunken driving to infant mortality and life expectancy, Americans are ‘living the dream’.

Overall Americans enjoy longer, healthier lives in more stable families and communities than they did 20 years ago. However, we cannot know what the future holds.

Millennials and Next Generations

Every generation likes to believe that it came of age at an especially challenging moment in history. Gen X had the dot-com bubble burst and the spike in the housing market. The Boomers had Vietnam and the Silents had the early Cold War. But what about Millennials?

Studies have shown that the Generation Y has begun to forge its personality with “confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change” individuals. Connected, more ethnically and racially diverse than older Americans, on the right track to become the most education generation in the country’s history, as they make their way into adulthood will Millennials distinguished themselves as a greater generation? Or will they have it worse off than their predecessors?

If you have an opinion or want to add something to this article please share your views in the comments section below.

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