Health

The Importance of Building Up Eldercare Infrastructure

Whether it’s your great grandmother Patricia or your father, as people age they often need more care and maybe a special facility where they can be cared for by health professionals.

Whether it’s your great grandmother Patricia or your father, as people age they often need more care and maybe a special facility where they can be cared for by health professionals.

Hence the importance of building up the eldercare infrastructure – better facilities, more transportation modes, medical assistance, and more – from Coast to Coast and all places in between.

And since the onset of COVID-19 nursing homes and other eldercare centers have been in the news and not always for good reason.

Even more, grounds to build up the eldercare infrastructure so families can feel their loved ones are safe, secure, and living out their lives with respect.

Many states suffer from not enough eldercare options while others have aging structures, not enough workers, and often are reported for elder abuse.

As a country, our aging population is growing, and it will only rise according to statistics.

Aging Population

The older American population in the United States aged 65 and older numbered 52.4 million in 2018 (the most recent year for which data are available), according to a report in the 2019 Profile of Older Americans.  

They represented 16% of the population, more than one in every seven Americans. The number of older Americans has increased by 13.7 million or 35% since 2008, compared to an increase of 4% for the under-65 population.

Between 2008 and 2018, the number of Americans aged 45-64, who will reach age 65 over the next two decades, increased by 7% from 78.6 million to 83.9 million.

The number of Americans aged 60 and older increased by 34% from 54.1 million to 72.8 million.

Additionally, the 85 and older population is projected to more than double from 6.5 million in 2018 to 14.4 million in 2040, a 123% increase, all according to the profile.

From these numbers, it’s a given that as the US populous ages so do its residents who deserve a stronger eldercare infrastructure.

Some in the field believe the time has come to call on leadership in Washington D.C. to ramp up efforts and build up eldercare infrastructure.

More Stats

In terms of living spaces eldercare can mean assisted living and nursing care or adult daycare, home care, and hospice care.

Statics also in the 2019 Profile of Older Americans, say the need for caregiving increases with age.

In 2018, the percentage of older adults aged 85 and older who needed help with personal care was 21% and was more than twice the percentage for adults ages 75–84 at 8% and five times the percentage for adults ages 65–74 or 4%.

Not surprisingly, staying at home vs. in an eldercare facility is the preferred living space among most elder Americans.

A 2018 survey from AARP, the aging advocacy organization, reported that close to four in five Americans aged 50 and above prefer to age at home.

But while many seniors say they want to age at home, it isn’t always possible especially when a health condition arises –– physical, cognitive, or emotional –– and eldercare is required.

Those who need eldercare and may have a disability and physical functioning according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey states 34% of people aged 65 and older reported having some type of disability (i.e., difficulty in hearing, vision, cognition, ambulation, self-care, or independent living) in 2018.

The percentages for individual disabilities ranged from 21% having an ambulatory disability to 6% having a vision difficulty

Future Elder Growth

Reports also suggest that the older population in the United States is expected to continue to grow significantly soon.

While growth slowed somewhat during the 1990s due to a smaller number of babies born during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

But the older population is beginning to grow again as more than one-third (36%) of the “baby boom” generation is now aged 65 and older.

Making sure our eldercare infrastructure is in place for our seniors and older Americans is more important than ever moving forward and into the future.

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