Elderly Demographics

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Elderly Demographics

Dana Laymance

Due to the many advances in medicine and education over the last century,

longevity has increased tremendously therefore increasing the aged community.

Eight percent of the population of the world are over the age of 65. A large

percent of this demographic group are choosing to live out their golden years

and retire in the country. (Atterton, J. 2008). Although demographic aging carries

with it many challenges, it has its share of contributions and opportunities

for today and future society. Many people falsely believe that the older age group

is a burden to society when in fact, they have quite a bit to contribute to society.

Once these older individuals reach retirement age they are often wealthier,

healthier and much more active than their predecessors. By the time they reach

retirement age, most of these people have built up a considerable amount of

economic and social resources that they can contribute to their community. An

example of this would be in the case of new businesses. Older people are much

more successful when starting a new business than younger people (Atterton, J.

2008). The negative side of the retirement age is that many of the elderly have

completely left the labor force and rely solely on savings, or pensions for

support. Postponing retirement is one solution but may not be possible in all

cases.

The increase of the elderly population will be followed by an increased demand

for health care needs, which will have major implications on the health care

workforce. The needs of the elderly are much different than that of younger

people, and because of this physicians will spend an increasing amount of time

treating the elderly. This will naturally increase the overall demand for health

care services and as a result, increase the demand for health care workers.

With the expected increase in health care needs due to the growing elderly

population, the pressure on the Medicaid and Medicare programs will increase. If

the ratio of those working and those retiring doesn’t balance out, there will be an

increase on budget pressures on government programs as well. The economic

pressure to reduce health care costs could result in policies to reduce the

demand for and supply of health workers.

One possible solution for these issues could be the consensus that a higher

level of education as well as greater economic resources, will improve the health

status of the elderly because combined education and economic resources

contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Greater economic resources make it possible

for individuals to purchase more nutritious food, afford medications, and

increasing preventive care. The more educated the elderly are, the more likely

they are to comply with physicians’ instructions, which leads to fewer

complications. Studies show that people with higher levels of education are less

likely to be disabled when controlling for age and other characteristics (Atterton,

J. 2008).

Demographic trends could change the types of institutions and caregivers that

service the elderly. If the rates of disability decline, more elderly people would be

able to remain in their homes which would decrease the demand on long term

care facilities and the government programs that predominantly fund the health

care costs of these institutions. There would still be an increase in demand for

home health care but in some cases, family members would be able to provide

care.

The fitness industry would most likely be the best marketing tool when the target

audience is the aging population. Health and fitness is quickly becoming

important to the older population as they aspire to age...
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