How Can Aging Affect Our Lives Long Term?
The increasing rate of the aging population is moving at a faster pace as compared to in the past, which is a growing concern among families, most especially for moms who always want to be with their children even if they’re already grown ups. Based on the statistical data from the World Health Organization, the proportion of the aging population in the world will double from 12% in 2015 to 22% by 2050, with the majority living in low-income and middle-income countries. Also, the number of people over 60 years old will outnumber the number of children less than five years old by 2020.In this post, you’ll learn how aging can affect you, your family, and society in the long term. In that way, you can make key decisions on elderly care, safety, retirement preparations, and securing your children’s future.
Influencing People’s Perception About Aging
From childhood to old age, everyone has their own perceptions of what’s life going to be once they reach that certain stage. While moms and babies are vulnerable populations, needing great care during childbirth or delivery, senior citizens or the elderly also need special attention. Governments are now faced with the huge responsibility of ensuring that the needs and welfare of the aging population are addressed without compromising other age groups.
At the biological level, aging is a result of the impact of molecular and cellular damage over time. The most common health conditions among the elderly include hearing loss, cataracts, back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, diabetes, depression, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and dementia. Older age is characterized by emerging complex health states occurring only later in life or geriatric syndromes, as a consequence of different underlying factors, such as frailty, falls, delirium, pressure ulcers, and urinary incontinence.
Aging is also affected by retirement, relocation, and relationships, impacting adaptation, recovery, coping mechanisms, and psychosocial growth. As early as childhood, moms should instill good values and develop a positive perception about aging on their children. These are accomplished by showing respect to grandparents and all the elderly people you meet, and understanding the aging process and how it affects mood and physical appearance.
The University of Southern California points out the need to keep everyone aware of the neuroscience of aging. Aging leads to a gradual decrease in mental and physical capacity, and to an increased risk of disease and death. However, these changes are loosely associated with the age of a person in years, which should change people’s perception of aging. For instance, a 70-year-old man can still enjoy extremely good health while another senior of the same age can already be frail and need help from other people.
Demographic Shift of Health and Social Systems
All countries today are facing a major demographic shift when it comes to health and social services. The life expectancy of people today is 60 years old and beyond. From 900 million seniors in 2015, the aging population will skyrocket to 2 billion worldwide by 2050.
By becoming aware of and understanding the impact of the aging process, government institutions and non-government organizations can make sound decisions that can affect future generations, like provisions for much needed public services. Of course, from pregnancy to geriatric care, everyone should receive equal healthcare and social services, which makes the provision of care challenging for governments around the world.
Because of the increasing aging population, it means more geriatric healthcare facilities and professionals are required, such as the following:
Rising Healthcare Costs
New treatment modalities are discovered every day that can prolong the life of human beings, from food supplements, laser treatment for vision problems, non-surgical procedures to treat wrinkles and sagging skin, and stem cell treatment. According to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association or JAMA in 2017, there are different factors why healthcare costs keep rising.
Here are the following factors causing increased healthcare costs:
Population Growth and Aging: More people who seek health care services are older people with higher costs, most especially inpatient care, as compared to younger ones.
Increased Rate of Chronic Illnesses: The highest expenditure is diabetes medications with $44.4 billion. Next to diabetes are low-back and neck pain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, falls, urinary disease, osteoarthritis, bloodstream infection, and oral disease.
Rising Health Insurance Premiums: Family health care average annual premiums increased by nearly 5% in 2018 to $19,616, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures or NCSL. Government programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, have increased the demand for medical services, along with a growing incidence of chronic conditions, resulting in higher premiums.
Increased Ambulatory Costs: Senior citizens need mobility devices to move with ease because of musculoskeletal system problems. That’s why ambulatory care, emergency room care, and outpatient hospital services increased from $381.5 billion to $706.4 billion.
Aging Can Also Benefit Society In Many Ways
While people normally equate aging with disability, long-term care, and even liability, older people can contribute to society in many ways. Longer life means more opportunities to pursue a neglected passion, a new career, further education, and other productive activities. Also, older people are the best sources of consultative advice because of their many years of broad experience, whether it’s about business, relationships, life decisions, environmental matters, and peace and order, among other things.
At some point, all people will reach their latter years in life or the aging process, which can affect the lives of families, communities, countries, and the entire world. Aging affects the healthcare system, most especially rising premiums and the cost of hospitalization and long-term care. However, older people can still be helpful and a great asset to society with the wisdom and experience they have earned through the years.