NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s Healthy World report, “A Fragile Nation in Poor Health”, which reveals the majority of Americans fail to follow their doctors’ advice, and uncovers a significant gap in our nation’s healthcare system – lack of patient care between doctor visits. Download it HERE!
Generation X was pushed toward adulthood at an early age — they are the latchkey generation. Gen Xers learned independence early in life as they often found themselves home alone while their parents worked. While they were fending for themselves, microwaving was considered cooking and TV dinners were the norm. Unfortunately, processed foods continue to be a staple for Gen X Americans. As a result, they are more prone to obesity, which puts them at a higher risk for diabetes. It’s no wonder diabetes is one of the worst diseases facing Generation X.
A Fragile Nation in Poor Health revealed that half (50%) of Gen X Americans feel their overall personal health is in good shape. A mere 3% of the people in this age group admit they are in poor health. That’s not surprising considering Generation X is just coming to the age where more and more health concerns begin to present. However, many serious diseases, such as diabetes, begin with almost no visible symptoms, meaning this age group may have a false sense of health. As we age, for example, our risk of developing diabetes increases. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, 76 million Americans are pre-diabetic right now.
Autonomy and self-reliance are natural by-products of the Generation X childhood. Their independence, however, sometimes gets in the way of their health. For example, they tend to delay going to the doctor or getting necessary treatment because they fear being viewed as needy.
Defiant, Yet Practical
Considering Generation X is said to be the defiant demographic, it’s no surprise to find that when they do visit the doctor, nearly 9 in 10 Gen X Americans (87%) admit they don’t follow treatment plans they’ve been given by their physician exactly as prescribed. They prefer to do things their own way.
This age group, however, is extremely practical. With that in mind, nearly two in five (37%) Generation X Americans, who feel they could better follow their prescribed plans, would be likely to do so if they received encouragement from their doctors between visits to stay on course.
Generation X tends to be focused on current realities rather than future promises. Due to their pragmatic tendencies, they want to reduce risk in life. Therefore, they should be encouraged to schedule wellness visits, get health screenings, and adopt a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to treatments, Generation X wants to learn all they can about a procedure before committing to it. They prefer to enter health situations feeling as if they are in control, with a reasonable idea of what to expect.
Need for Feedback and Recognition
Bear in mind, Gen Xers want to be looked at as individuals. Perhaps as a result of their latchkey childhood, they are not used to being closely supervised and are remarkably good at working on their own. On the other hand, members of Generation X can never get enough feedback on their performance. They want to know how they are doing and they want recognition for their accomplishments.
A Fragile Nation in Poor Health revealed more than 4 in 10 (42%) Gen X Americans would follow instructions better if they received reminders from their doctors via email, voicemail or text telling them to do something specific, like schedule a routine health screening, or grab a piece of fruit before hitting the gym.
Because technology is the norm for this group, they will expect to receive information and to converse in this way. They thrive on interactive, electronic communication. A personalized approach that offers feedback on their progress, along with recognition for the accomplishments they make along the way, and the space they need to achieve their health-related goals independently, will go a long way to keep this generation motivated to stay the course and become healthier individuals.