The first element of consumer demand that will shape the health care market for seniors is is simply the changing demographics of most wealthy nations, in which the population of the elderly is an increasingly high proportion of the total population. This means that, for example, fewer pediatricians and obstetricians will be needed in proportion to specialists in geriatrics and chronic diseases. This also may means changing training of medical practitioners by including more training in geriatric care and the special needs of elderly patients.
Another important shift is that people are living longer in different ways than in the past. Many of the elderly are single and as child birth rates decrease, may have no families to care for them. This means that health care options will respond to the existence of independent elderly without family support structures. Also, as many of the elderly are relatively wealthy, their will be increased consumer demand for upscale retirement on the one hand, but also increased demand for an equally growing trend of impoverished elderly with high medical bills and no savings.
Next, many of the elderly desire to age in place, giving rise to homes redesigned to be accessible and intelligent, capable of using technology to let the elderly live independently longer by using things like mobile apps for safety and home health monitoring and even some forms of technologically mediated medical care delivery. Also, many transitional facilities, which allow semi-independent living, are being created which allow for gradual transitions from fully independent living to assisted living. This is a trend which will probably accelerate with an increasing variety of offerings and options which integrate health care into part of senior lifestyle communities rather than separating healthcare into distinctive purely medical facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes.
Although medical advances can prolong life, there is increasing debate about the degree to which life should be prolonged with hospice care and physician-assisted euthanasia become increasingly popular alternatives to maximal interventions to extend quantity of life without attention to quality.