The aging of the Italian population
Longevity is one of the most important developments of our era which involves profound social, cultural, economic, medical-scientific, and technological changes.
In 2017, there were 60.6 million Italian residents, of which 13.5 million were over 65 years old, i.e. 22.3% of the total population.
The Italian old-age index, which describes how old our population is, shows that there are 165.3 elderly people for every 100 young people (up to 14 years old) This is due to the yearly increase in life expectancy thanks to medical advances that allow chronic patients to live longer, but also to the improvement of both dietary and motor lifestyles.
As a matter of fact, in 2016, life expectancy for men was 80.6 years (+0.5 compared to 2015, +0.3 compared to 2014), while for women it was 85.1 years (+0.5 compared to 2015, +0.1 compared to 2014).
The evolution of the families
The make-up of Italian families has changed over the years. Compared to the total number of Italian families, couples with children remain the majority and account for 36% out of the total number of families, immediately followed by single people who account for 31% and childless couples who account for 22%. This means that both families and caregiving networks figures are changing.
Due to demographic development trends, the aging of the population and changes in social and family models, some recent studies and analyses forecast a need for an additional 60,000/80,000 beds in RHCFs in Italy over the next few years.
When people become non-self-sufficient
The average age at which people are admitted into RHCFs has increased, while guests’ average health status has significantly worsened. According to a recent study, the average admission age is around 88, which also implies a higher degree of dependency.
This means a population that is not growing and is becoming increasingly older and which will increasingly require residential facilities that respond promptly to new emerging needs.
At present, the percentage of elderly people who live in social and health care facilities in Italy is shown in the graph below. More than half of all residents are over 85.
Source: ISTAT, Italy in figures, 2016
Source: ISTAT, Italy in figures, 2016
Also, the rise in the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s is increasingly prompting families to seek external help. To date, this market demand is not met by a sufficiently structured supply of specialized facilities that are specifically dedicated to and equipped for individuals suffering from this disease. There is an increasing need for modern residential facilities that can offer quality care services, both from the structural and residential, as well as functional and operational standpoint.
The Italian market is currently very fragmented: the public sector accounts for 45% of all facilities, the non-profit sector for 35%, and the private sector only for 20%, of which just a few are part of structured groups. This situation generates relevant consolidation and growth prospects, also due to cuts in public spending. Furthermore, both the public and private sector are facing operational, economic, and financial difficulties to make the necessary investments to create new beds, and this leads to fundamental difficulties in the construction and establishment of RHCFs or clinics.
Looking at the distribution of beds (B) per region for every 1,000 inhabitants, we notice an important imbalance between the North and the South of Italy. On average, there are 4 beds for every 1,000 inhabitants, as can be seen from the graph below.
A dynamic sector that is constantly growing
Therefore, there is a need for important structural projects aimed at developing, modernizing, and updating an existing stock of facilities that is obsolete and insufficient on average, in order to meet the growing demand for social and health care in the coming decades.
Such favorable context that, to some extent, is also counter-cyclical to Italian and global economic and financial performance provides opportunities for development and growth: this is why Rodevita is largely investing in the potential development of this interesting sector.