Aging Population And Health Care Issues
In the United States, at present, health care eats away approximately fourteen percent of the gross domestic product. It is estimated that by the year 2030, the country would be spending almost 28 percent of its GDP on health care. All these things are attributed to increasing aging population. (See Reference 1)
People who are more than 65 years of age consume almost one-third of expense on health care. In the coming years, it is expected that nearly half of the nation’s health care expenses will be for older adults. By the year 2030, the requirement for health care providers will double if the trend continues like this. Hence, it is the prime duty of all the policy makers to forecast the requirements and accordingly make an effective plan for the delivery of necessary medical and health care services to all, especially the aging population. (See Reference 1)
Most seniors are in better health in modern times, especially when compared to 10 years ago. This primarily has to do with better eating habits, more awareness and also access to medical treatment. (See Reference 1) This is leading to increased life expectancy. A survey conducted on the aging population's health revealed that almost 75 percent Whites, 65 percent Latinos and 58 percent African American claimed to be in good health. However, the survey also found that aging population belonging to the low income group was more likely to suffer from health issues compared to those in middle and high income group. This primarily has to do with lack of proper medical and health care. Many seniors belonging to the low income group either do not have medical insurance, or their insurance is inadequate to cover all the health related expenses.
As people cross sixty years of age, chronic diseases are the ones which become more prevalent. Treatment of these diseases costs more. However, they can be prevented. Nearly eighty-five percent of people over 65 years of age have at least one chronic disease and some fifty percent may have two or more chronic diseases. Advancement in the field of medical science has nowadays almost zeroed the effects of these chronic diseases, and people with diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, heart diseases, cancer and stroke, are now living longer. (See Reference 1) But to treat these chronic diseases, money has to be spent and this is taking a toll on the health care system.
The cause of concern is that the society over the years could not cease behaviors that are causing these diseases. Though smoking has reduced drastically among certain age groups, other lifestyle habits such as alcoholism, inactivity and improper nutrition have not altered; and the result is increasing number of chronic diseases, especially among the aging population.
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1. Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency: How Will An Aging Population Affect Health Care?