Wed | Sep 22, 2021

The Missing Piece | Ageing care opportunity?

Published:Saturday | April 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMImani Duncan-Price
Sheri Rose (centre), executive director of the Thrive Center, demonstrates the useful options of the Smart Fridge that supports 'ageing care' to Eisenhower Fellow, Imani Duncan-Price and Benjamin Moore, economic development manager for Louisville City.
Imani Duncan-Price
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On her Eisenhower Fellowship, Imani Duncan-Price will be travelling to 10 cities in the USA to learn different approaches to developing thriving industries/clusters in music, sports and entertainment tourism in Jamaica. As she visits these cities - Philadelphia; Washington, DC; Nashville; Louisville (Kentucky); Indianapolis; San Francisco; Colorado Springs; Sedona (Arizona); Bentonville (Arkansas); New York City - Duncan-Price will share with you, through The Gleaner, what she has learned.

In the seven cities I've visited thus far, leaders in the public and private sectors are focused on what next for growth, even as they enjoy the success of current clusters. Who would have guessed that Louisville, Kentucky, was focusing on the lifelong wellness and ageing care cluster? After all, it's bourbon and logistics town.

However, following the development principle of building on unique strengths, it actually makes sense. Humana was started in Louisville in 1961 as a nursing home company, evolved to hospitals and ultimately became the health insurance giant it is today. In this process, several other health-related companies were established. So today, Louisville is home to America's largest cluster of ageing care businesses such as nursing homes, home-based healthcare, hospice and other senior-living services.

 

MARKET OPPORTUNITY

 

With 10,000 people in America turning 65 every day, the market opportunity for ageing care is clearly enormous and Louisville is readying for it. The recent establishment of the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council is key to collaboration and further transforming their health economy. The Thrive Innovation Center is also a hub for entrepreneurs, investors and the elderly to test technologies, products and services aimed at improving quality of life and care of retirees.

The traditional old-age business model was built around nursing homes and medical care in hospitals. Today, building enough brick-and-mortar nursing homes for such a large population of baby boomers is not feasible. In addition, older Americans increasingly prefer ageing in their homes or in home-like settings. They want healthcare services delivered to them outside nursing homes and hospitals.

What's the opportunity for Jamaica?

We could establish ageing care communities for baby boomers focused on 'living and thriving, not ageing and dying' - a cost-effective retirement option to what they face in the USA. Imagine Richmond, St Ann-styled homes, with doctors and nurses on property, along with an ambulance at the ready. After all, our nurses are sought after globally. Herbal experts offering nutraceuticals like guinea hen weed and medical ganja could also enhance the experience.

Growth in nearby AirBnB accommodations would follow to accommodate visiting families. Educators and nannies should then be on call to provide support services when grandchildren come to visit.

Processes to ensure their USA insurance works here, along with smooth delivery of social security payments, and easy payment of taxes would also be key. Jamaica already serves returning residents in this way, so there is a solid foundation on which to build.

- Imani Duncan-Price is chief of staff for the leader of the Opposition, an Eisenhower Fellow, a World Economic Forum young global leader and former senator. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and fullticipation@gmail.com.