Aging in America Essay 2

2794 Words Jan 18th, 2006 12 Pages
We all will one day face the reality of growing older. There are many aspects of this change that will affect us in a large way. According to the Merck Manual of Health and Aging, 1.5% of Americans are 85 or older. This research states that the number of people 100 years or older could rise from 1 out of 5,578 in the year 2000, to 1 out of 472 in the year 2050. It brings out that women have a longer life expectancy than men, among people aged 65 and older in the year 2000, there were 70 men for every 100 women. For people aged 85 and older the figure was 41 men for every 100 women. The site goes on to say that approximately 11% of Americans aged 65 and older are below the poverty line. (The Merck Manual of Health and Aging: …show more content…
7.3 million elderly persons require assistance with activities of daily living. Aetna Retirement Services (1999) reported "an estimated 15% of U.S. adults are providing special care for seriously ill or disabled relatives" (p. 2), and that 20% to 40% of caregivers are caring for children under age 18 at the same time. Many younger aging Americans (baby boomers) made the choice to remain childless, or to delay marriage and starting a family. Further, among the oldest of the old (85+), many may have outlived their children. These two factors have resulted in a growing number of aging Americans with fewer options in terms of their own care later in life. A smaller percentage of non-white (3%) than white (5.8%) elderly live in nursing homes. Contributing factors point to discrimination in referrals when institutional health care or long term care services are needed, geographical separation from support networks, potential linguistic isolation, shorter life spans for most minority individuals, and greater involvement of families and other unpaid sources of assistance (Administration on Aging, 2000). As of January 1, 1997 with the signing into law of welfare and health care reform legislation, the cost of financing long-term care rests with individuals. Those who are inadequately prepared for whatever reasons are not likely to receive necessary care (Hendley & Bilimoria, 1999;

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