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Demographics of an Aging Society


March 13. 2013

Demographics of an Aging Society

The natural order of the life cycle states that babies will grow old. Barring any disasters along

the way this is, in fact true. With the various technologies available, increased knowledge of medicine

and treatment, and the resources available to caregivers the life expectancy of humans has increased

greatly. With this increase come several changes in the health care market, concern for resources, and

challenges to meet the necessary needs of this growing population of elderly health care consumers.

Between 1900 and 2000, life expectancy in the United States increased from 51 to 80

years for women and from 48 to 72 years for men (Population Reference Bureau, 2002). By

2030, it is estimated that 70 million U.S. citizens will be over age 65, and 8.5 million Americans

will be over age 85 (National Center for Health Statistics, 1999). This increasing elderly

population will have a growing need for health care services, a need for resources available for

not only the elderly health care consumers but also for those that care for them.

The increasing life expectancy brings an increasing prevalence of chronic disease. It

is estimated that by 2040, almost 160 million people in the U.S, most of them elderly will be

living with chronic conditions (Population Reference Bureau, 2002). Chronic conditions pose a

threat to the patient in the sense that his or her daily lives and quality of life may be affected.

When considering the health care market this could cause a serious increase in medical need and

costs for health care. If more patients are...