Millennials do not think of themselves as Millennials. They think of themselves as themselves, without reference to any particular group identity. So it is somewhat imprecise to talk about this generation as if they shared a group identity. This may well be the most individualistic generation to date. That individualism extends to every aspect of life, including healthcare.
The Builders of the 40s and 50s were more likely to identify with a group: god, family, country. In that motto, there is no room for self. Society and community take precedence. Instructions are passed down by authority figures and apply equally to everyone. If the dietician says there are four food groups, there are four food groups. Rules about diet and exercise are generalized and applied to all.
But every generation since has become a little more individualistic. There are many reasons for this. But one of the big ones is technological advancement. It is possible for healthcare to be more fine tuned to the individual. We have always known that like snowflakes, no two people were exactly the same. It makes sense that with better tools, healthcare could also be more tailored to the individual. Here is how individualism effects the healthcare choices of Millennials:
We Are All Different:
No two people are exactly alike. That means no two problems are exactly alike. As a result, no two treatments should be exactly alike. But for the Millennials, that is where it all breaks down.
The number of kids and teens hospitalized because of opioid abuse has doubled since 1997. But people start taking drugs for different reasons. They respond to drugs differently. And they need different forms of treatment.
What Millennials are looking for is the kind of individualized treatment described at crestviewrecovery.com. It touts personalized programs and custom care.
One wonders why all rehabilitation facilities do not offer personalized programs. It might be that it is more difficult, or more expensive to maintain. Or it could be that the healthcare industry has too long had a one size fits all mentality.
Whatever the reason, Millennials do not respond well to cookie cutter treatment programs. We are all different. And so too should be our treatment.
We Have Different Healthcare Goals:
What is the goal of healthcare? Is it to promote the longest possible life, or the most enjoyable life even if it is a relatively brief span? Would you rather live ten more years of pure joy or thirty more years of misery?
Because our goals are different, our approach to healthcare must also be different. Diabetics are faced with this kind of choice every day. Every diabetic knows the long term cost of eating their favorite foods. But despite the ultimate consequences, they also want to enjoy some of the things they have come to love.
There are others who have a sense of responsibility to loved ones, dependents, and causes. This responsibility might cause them to seek ways to prolong a life that is otherwise filled with pain and misery. Neither of these extreme situations further a wrong choice. They just constitute different choices to be sorted out by individuals.
We Have Different Levels of Accountability:
Sometimes we all need a little help with our health. But there is a big difference in getting a little help from our community and completely giving up control and accountability. We all have different comfort levels of how much control and accountability we want to have over our healthcare.
Some default to whatever the doctor says without question. We never investigate prescribed medications and rubber-stamp every procedure the doctor suggests. Others, particularly Millennials, are more comfortable with doing their own research, monitoring their own vitals and stats, and being a more active part of the decision tree.
They wear health trackers and Apple Watches. They use scales and blood pressure monitors that blast the results to their entire community. They decide when they need to followup with a doctor versus treating themselves with over the counter remedies.
We are all very different people with very different goals and different levels of healthcare accountability. Millennials tend to prefer more individualistic treatments, prioritize quality over quantity of life, and a greater sense of accountability.