Advantages and Disadvantages of Aging PopulationsThis is a featured page

What is an Aging Population?
In almost every MEDC, the proportion of people aged over 60 years is growing faster than any other age group. The reasons for this trend are often complex.

They include, or will include in the next decade or so, the tremendous impact of the "baby boomer" generation, increases in life expectancy, changes in fertility patterns and for many geographical locations, out-migration of the younger members of society.

This population aging can be seen as a success story for public health policies and for socioeconomic development, but it also challenges society to adapt, in order to maximize the health and functional capacity of older people as well as their social participation and security.

On a Demographic Transition Model, a country with an aging population would be in Stage 5.

An example of an aging population would be Canada. A Canadian born in 1960, for example, can expect to live 20 years longer than a Canadian who was born in 1900. This is mainly because of the improvement in health care and medical sciences over the years. Meanwhile birth rates have declined, so that a growing proportion of the population is over 65. By the year 2031, approximately 20% of Canada's population - one in five - will be seniors. Below is a population pyramid of a country with an aging population:[Untitled]

Here is a video showing some of the advantages and disadvantages of an aging population:


Advantages:
  • The economic effects of an aging population are considerable.
  • Older people often have higher accumulated savings per head than younger people, but may be spending less on consumer goods.
  • Depending on the age ranges at which the changes occur, an aging population may thus result in lower interest rates and the economic benefits of lower inflation.
  • Older people can also help maintain the cultures and religions of the countries for further generations by passing down their knowledge about these to the young.
  • After retirement, most old people have a lot of time on their hands to contribute to society.
Disadvantages:
  • Less economic growth; the country's work force shrinks because of low replacement rates.
  • Increases in diseases and disabilities associated with aging and therefore the need to provide relevant care, especially in terms of chronic physical and mental health problems.
  • Changes in the skill sets of our health care providers (physicians, nurses, etc.) that will be required to respond to the needs of the elderly.
  • Shifts in the delivery of formal health care services, particularly increased long-term care.
  • An increase in the number of informal caregivers (unpaid family and friends) of the elderly in community settings and the need to provide supports for those caregivers.
Sources:
http://www.mta.ca/about_canada/aging/index.htm
http://www.who.int/topics/ageing/en/
http://atlas.nrcan.gc.ca/auth/english/maps/health/ruralhealth/agingpop/1

Terminology:
  • MEDC - More Economically Developed Country. Ex: America, France, England
  • Life Expectancy - the expected (in the statistical sense) number of years of life remaining at a given age.
  • Demographic Transition Model - used to represent the transition from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates as a country develops from a pre-industrial to an industrialized economic system.
  • Migration - physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups.
  • Population Pyramid - a graphical illustration that shows the distribution of various age groups in a human population.
  • "Baby boomer" generation - a term used to describe the rapid increase in births worldwide after World War II.


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SrinivasanR
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