Elderly as a Vulnerable Population

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Elderly as a Vulnerable Population

By | October 2010
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Elderly as a Vulnerable Population

According to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2002),

vulnerability is the ability to “Be easily physically, emotionally, or mentally

hurt, influenced or attacked.” At any given time, anyone can become

vulnerable. Demographically, the nature of society is changing. The

population of older people is dramatically increasing. The U.S Census

Bureau states that the population of people greater than 65 is projected to

double by the year 2030 and at the same time increase from 12 to 20 percent

of the population. This same population is considered to be a vulnerable

group of people by society. Focus on the elderly is needed because the

demographic changes will pose challenges to meet their growing needs

physically, mentally and financially. Also, additional services will be needed

to address and treat chronic and disabling conditions. Education from

research will need to be implemented to alter negative perceptions of aging.

Medicare and social security is not able to support this projected growth and

untreated illnesses will cause the elderly to lose their independence and

prevent them from staying in their homes. The elderly are stereotyped as

requiring special care due to poor health, poor finances, and lack of social

support. Stereotyping of the elderly population leads to biased opinions

which in turn may cause disrespect, mistreatment, and abuse. According to

Kharicha and Lliffe (2007) “GPs may consider older people living alone to

be an ‘at-risk” group worthy of interventions, although there is some

evidence that those living alone are a robust group” (p.273). As the elderly

population increases, it is important to understand the impact to family,

health, and social institution. Biased opinions are formed from ignorance.

“Society does not understand much about aging today except what they see

and hear in the media and popular...

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