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Impact of the Aging of America

While the number of people under age 65 in the U.S. has increased by a factor of three during the 20th century, the number of people over age 65 has increased by a factor of eleven. ôConsequently, the elderly, who comprised only 1 in every 25 Americans (3.1 million) in 1900, made up 1 in 8 (33.2 million) in 1994. Declining fertility and mortality rates also have led to a sharp rise in the median age of our Nation's population -- from 20 years old in 1860 to 34 in 1994.ö (Hobbs, Damon; 1995). The manifold ways that this one change affects society render the aging of America a highly significant factor in a number of different areas, all of which need to adapt to their changing consumer base.

One of the major areas affected by the aging population is medicine. As people live longer, they acquire multiple conditions; those conditions require more medication. ôA new study shows that physicians are prescribing medications to their patients at a far greater rate than they did just two decades ago. In fact, the prescription rate rose 34 percent between 1985 and 1999, from 109 to 146 prescriptions per 100 visits, according to a federal study released today in the journal Health Affairs;ö at the current rate, prescriptions will double in just 5 years. (Firshein, 2002). Aging people require more medical care than younger ones, as well. Furthermore, many conditions such as AlzheimerÆs disease that did not used to be significant in our society are so now that people are living long enough to develop them. Some innovations that have arisen around the situation are home delivery systems for medical supplies that are charged to Medicare and free to the patient and new types of drugs for diseases of the elderly. (Firshein, 2002).

Education is another area affected by the number of elderly people. As the proportion of people with children in school diminishes in a community, tax levies to support education become less favored, a...

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Impact of the Aging of America. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:11, April 21, 2019, from