Care for an Aging Society
The aging process is an unavoidable occurrence that occurs as individuals get older. An aging society introduces challenges with regard to care and upkeep for the elderly. An aging society also introduces the challenge of man power and human resources. As a population ages, the number of human resource needed for labor reduces as the elderly go into retirement. Concerns over medical care also heighten as the elderly are prone to illnesses due to their suppressed immune system. It is the role of society to care for the aging individual in its populations. The society should improve opportunities for older people to ensure that they lead a comfortable life. The issues of population aging should be a cause of concern for societies as it means that the population of the elderly may rise above the population that is youthful and of child bearing age. Human civilization has made it possible for human beings to live beyond the age of 70. Societies are faced with an occurrence that is relatively new. The presence of a largely aging society means that societies have to think of effective strategies to ensure that individuals over the age of 65 are able to live a comfortable life.
Stone & Barbarotta (2011) notes that the first group of baby boomers turned 65 in 2011 marking the beginning of a rise in elderly individuals in society. The number of baby boomers who cross the 65 years mark is expected to double in the next two decades. The number of individuals aged 85 and above is expected to rise. A rise in elderly patients means that there will be increased need for acute primary and long-term care. Elderly people have a higher likelihood of suffering from mental illness, functional disability, dementia and cognitive impairments. The elderly individuals will, therefore, require increased medical care to manage these conditions (Stone & Barbarotta, 2011). It is estimated that American will need approximately 3.5 million healthcare workers by 2030 so as to care for the aging population. With this knowledge, the country must prepare by training additional healthcare providers. It is by taking such prompt action that a society will safeguard itself from unforeseen expenses with regard to care to the aging society.
According to Knickman & Snell (2002) there are numerous economic concerns that societies consider when faced with an aging population. Some of these concerns include a rise in social security patters, a rise in medical care costs and a rise in long term care costs. Currently, societies are faced with the predicament of baby boomers that are now attaining the age of 65. The real economic challenge with regard to long term care of baby boomers requires the creation of a finance system that caters for long term care. Societies also need to build a viable and affordable community based delivery system. Societies must also invest in healthy aging that ascertain that individual’s age without the risk of diseases and ailments being high (Knickman & Snell, 2002). Seniors should also ensure that the population cultivates the concepts of family and value for the senior citizens. It is with such a positive attitude that the younger generation will willingly care for the aging in society.
Wiener & Tilly (2002) concurs that America is also being faced by the aging predicament. As the American population ages, the need for health funds and support program for the elderly increases. In America, it is estimated that the number of the elderly will rise by 135%. A rise aged people in society means that the need for health and long term care services will rise. A rise in the aging population means that health care services will shift from preventive care to the management of chronic illness (Wiener & Tilly, 2002). The elderly are prone to chronic diseases as their immune system reduces over time. There will also be an increasing demand for long term care workers such as home aides and personal care assistants. Societies should prepare adequately to care for its aging population so as to avert challenges such as shortage of health care professionals that may arise.
The aging populations in societies should be seen as vital elements of the society rather than a burden. The ability of a society to see its aging population as valuable members of society is based on the society’s ability to ensure that its people lead a normal life healthy life. The elderly population can live an independent and healthy life if the society provides effective structures that ensure that the elderly live a healthy life. For instance, the society can ensure that the elderly can access quality health care services as affordable rates. Ensuring that the overall population is healthy will ensure that all members of society remain productive for long. Overall, it is the society that benefits from having a productive populace.
Knickman, J. & Snell, E. (2002). The 2030 problem: caring for aging baby boomers. Journal of health services research. Vol. 37(4); 849-884
Stone, R. & Barbarotta, L. (2011). Caring for an aging America. Journal of the American society on aging
Wiener, J. & Tilly, J. (2002). Population ageing in the United States of America. International journal of epidemiology. Vol.31 (4); 776-781