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The Future of Aging

Aging and the Health Care Challenge

Future of Aging

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What is the future of aging? In the next decade, baby boomers, the 77 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, will establish a new concept of health as they age and become America's senior citizens. They will challenge the formal health care system to serve them better, and successful companies will be those that can extend the market for health with alternative forms of care and new types of health-related products and services.

The boomers will present the health and health care industry with two formidable challenges. First, their sheer number and the costs of providing them care will stretch the system and force it to develop creative ways to handle the volume and diversity of their needs; and second, boomers distinct attitudes toward health and health care will create new threats and opportunities in the health market.

The choices that health and health care industry players make now about how to prepare for the demands and expectations of aging baby boomers will shape their long-term success.

The way we care for seniors today cannot scale to meet the looming age wave, and before long we'lll face a fullblown national crisis. We have an obligation to our parents indeed to the next generation of seniors to ensure they get the best possible care and that they receive it in a place they want to call home. 

AGING FACTS

  • By 2030, nearly one in five Americans 71.5 million people will be over age 65.
  • Today, there are more than 35 million Americans age 65 or above a tenfold increase in the 65 and over population since 1900. Over the next 25 years, that number will double, and one in every five Americans will be age 65 or older.
  • Contrary to popular belief, only a small minority move to warmer climates upon retirement.
  • Fewer than 5 percent of the 65 and over population reside in nursing homes. Instead, most Americans choose to age in place within the same communities where they have long lived.

What is aging in place? Aging in place is a term used to describe a senior living in the residence of their choice as they age, while being able to have any services (or other support) they might need over time as their needs change, for as long as they are able. Aging in Place as "the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.

HOUSING

  • Home ownership rates among adults age 65 and above, at more than 80 percent, are higher than the national average.
  • One in every four renters age 50 and above pays 50 percent or more of annual income on rent.
  • The average annual cost per patient of nursing home care is more than $60,000.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Only 3 percent of all trips taken by Americans age 65 and above are by bus or train. 
  • 55 percent of Americans say they would prefer to walk more and drive less.
  • Individuals with health impairments or disabilities often have difficulty using fixed-route transit systems, because of factors such as poor pedestrian accessibility or the lack of accessible design features at buses and rail stations.
  • One in five Americans age 65 and above does not drive.
  • Texas Providers of Private Pay Transportation Services

HEALTH AND SUPPORT SERVICES

  • One in five older Americans does not know who to call for information about local services in their community.
  • Low-income areas typically have one-third fewer grocery stores than middle and high-income neighborhoods.
  • Older volunteers in one intergenerational program reported higher activity levels, increased strength, and a bigger support network.

CULTURE AND LIFELONG LEARNING

  • During the next 25 years, the older Latino population will grow four-fold, from 2 million today to 8 million in 2030. The older Asian population will grow from 1 million to 4 million. In areas in states with high immigrant populations, such as Florida and Texas, the growth will be even more dramatic.
  • Older adults participating in weekly arts programs reported better health, fewer doctor visits, and less medication usage.
  • Only 1 in 3 older adults today has access to the Internet.

PUBLIC SAFETY

  • More than one-third of older adults interviewed in a national survey identify crime as a problem in their neighborhoods.
  • In a national survey by the AdvantAge Initiative, 34 percent of older adults report crime as a problem in their neighborhoods. 
  • Crime is the top problem reported by African-American and Hispanic older adults.
    It is estimated that 1 to 2 million Americans age 65 and above have suffered elder abuse; however, detecting and preventing elder abuse is inherently difficult.
  • Many victims are isolated and do not know where to turn for redress. For every one case of elder abuse that is documented, approximately five cases go unreported.

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

  • Research has shown that older adults prefer working with children and youth more than any other volunteer activity.
  • Young people who participate in intergenerational programs show measurable improvements in school attendance and attitudes toward school.

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