The aging of a population is an unprecedented phenomenon. There have been a lot of difficulties in explaining what aging is. It has been a more complicated matter to define due to the increase in life expectancy. The increase in life expectancy is linked to the improvements in health; there are two main indicators of aging, that is, the proportion of those aged sixty-five and above and the old-age dependency ratio. The definition of aging can be based on life expectancy, threshold, and prospective age. The simple definition of aging is understood to be the beginning when people are at the age where their remaining life expectancy is twenty-five percent or lower. Aging is pegged on several factors which may be mental, social, economic, and emotional; it can also be physical or psychological (Sanderson and Scherbov, 2008, p. 7).
Healthy in aging is defined as the “development and the maintenance of optimal, social and physical well being and functioning of body organs in older adults (Minnesota Department of Health, n.d., p. 2). It has farther been noted that “healthy living can be achieved through building safe communities, promotion of health and well being and use of health service and community programs to minimize disease” (Minnesota Department of Health, n.d., p. 2). A population is said to be an age when older persons in the community increase in proportion to the other ages. Any factor therefore that will tend to make the population of older persons more than the other population ages will age the society. People within the aging bracket often experience a lot of health problems which may be both mental and behavioral (Minnesota Department of Health, n.d., p. 2). Among the health problems that affect old people are anxiety depression and mental disorders, late-life problems can lead to physical health problems and social problems like caring for the spouse, grieving for the loved ones, and managing conflicts with other family members. Any individual or caregiver of any old person always experiences a lot of challenges and hardships that come with age; caregivers also experience grief and depression arising from the same (Minnesota Department of Health, n.d., p. 2).
Several chronic diseases affect the older generations or aged and can lead to diminished quality of life and an increase in the cost of health care and long-term care as well. Aging causes a lot of pain and suffering and renders an individual malfunctioning. It has been established that poor health is an inevitable result of aging. This has led to the placing of effective public health mechanism in place that can enable the old people to remain more independent, to live longer, to enhance their quality of living, and enable them to delay their need for long term health care (Minnesota Department of Health, n.d., p. 2). Among the things that need to be put into consideration when dwelling on how to improve the health of the old and aging individuals are:
First is the promotion of health and up-to-date clinical and preventive services. Preventive medical care is fundamental in enhancing the lives of old people; this may include immunization and medical screening (Minnesota Department of Health, n.d., p. 2).
Addressing depression: a significant number of old people often experience depression which is brought about by their aging nature, this should be addressed by carrying out community-based screening (Centre for Disease Control, 2009, p. 1).
Caregiving institutionalization should also be undertaken. This is one kind of intervention that will psychologically uplift the lives of the old population. The role of taking care of the old people had often been left in the hands of unpaid citizens; this caregiving should be upgraded so that the old can feel that they are being taken care of (Centre for Disease Control, 2009, p. 1).
An increased aging population will lead to an increase in the costs of medical and social services; this creates pressure on health spending and long-term health care. This has a lot of impact on both family and individual income and national resources as some of the finances will go to nursing homes. This is aimed at enabling them to live more comfortable and independent lives. The health of the aged will have a lot of impact on the health care system of the United States of America; it will particularly affect the supply of and demand for health care workers. It is expected that the number of health care workers will likely reduce when the population will increase. This is because aging will consume more health care workers and the demand for health services will rise. Health in aging affects several sectors in the US which range from entitlement spending, pension scheme to Medicare services. This is due to the growing number of beneficiaries from the aging population (Centre for Disease Control, 2009, p. 1).
The support of the old or the aging population demands a lot of workforces especially those under institutional health care; it has developed to be one of the sectors that require and still have a lot of potential for absorbing the workforce who will be required to take care of the aging population in nursing homes, health institutions and in their families. Caregiving is one of the tremendous jobs that are prompted by the increase in the population of old people. Aging has a lot of impact on families and society as a whole. Caregiving has been linked with rising cases of depression and several psychoactive medications. Other complexities of issues arise from caregiving or confronting those who look after the old people especially concerning cases of behavioral disturbances. Since the increased aging population results in the employment of caregivers, the government has been forced to foot the costs that come with this responsibility (Centre for Disease Control, 2009, p. 1).
The aging population costs a lot to take care of. The costs rise even high because this population is prone to be easily affected health-wise. The expected surge in the population of old persons has overreaching consequences and impacts public health, financing and delivery of health care, informal caregiving, and national or state pension system. This may lead to the draining of national resources and hence healthy aging should be encouraged. To overcome these challenges, all stakeholders should expand health care to encompass the promotion of healthy living among the older population and the enhancement of quality of life. The promotion of healthy living can be achieved through the promotion of health information and health resources to the public. Since the caregivers are the custodians of the aging population, the government is yet to appreciate the role they play. The government, therefore, needs to step in before time runs out. More support has to be given to the health workers morally and financially.
Centre for Disease Control. (2009) Healthy Aging: Improving and Extending Quality of Life among Older Americans. Web.
Minnesota Department of Health. (n.d) Creating healthy communities from an aging population. Web.
Sanderson, W & Scherbov, S. (2008) Rethinking Age and Aging, Web.