Showing posts with label aging in the community. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aging in the community. Show all posts

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Aging Services in the United States

I recently attended the Orange County Senior Summit that was held in one of the clubhouses at the retirement community where I live in Southern California.  The speakers at the summit included:

Nora Eisenhower of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Laura Mosqueda who is a Professor of Geriatrics at the University of California, Irvine

Lisa Gibson, a registered dietitian and consultant for Age Well Senior Services

Marilyn Ditty, DPA, a Gerontology expert and the CEO of Age Well Senior Services

Karen Roper, MBA, the Executive Director of the Orange County Commission to End Homelessness (a serious issue in some parts of affluent Orange County)

The topic of the conference was Aging in Place with emphasis on the resources that are available to people who hope to age in their current homes.

The information that I gleaned from these experts was fascinating and, over the next few weeks, I plan to share a bit of what I learned with my readers here at

Today I thought people would be interested in the amazing effect that Baby Boomers are about to have on American society, per Karen Roper.

US Population Age 60 and Over

2005:     49,712,000
2020:     76,986,000     

In a 15 year period, the population of people over age 60 will have increased 55% ... and the population is expected to continue to increase dramatically over the next 20 years.  The population of the extremely elderly is expected to grow rapidly, as well.  For example, between 2005 and 2020, the population of people age 85 and over is also expected to have increased by 55%.

Another interesting statistic that Ms. Roper mentioned was that in 2020 (which is only 6 years from now), 20% of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65 and 20% of the U.S. population will be under the age of 16.  This will be the first time ever that the number of elderly and the number of children in the U.S. were approximately equal.

The aging population means that there will need to be a significant increase in the services that are available to help an aging population such as:

Adult Day Care
Elderly Nutrition Programs
Elder Abuse Prevention
Affordable Housing
In-Home Care
Legal Assistance
Case Management

How these services are going to be managed is something we all need to be thinking about.  We are fortunate that there are people who are already planning for ways they can help us as we age.  For example, many communities have already set up adult day care programs.  These are services that are available to help people care for loved ones who have dementia.  Being able to leave your spouse or parent with an agency during the day can make a difference between being able to care for them in your home or finding it necessary to institutionalize them ... at great expense.

Community nutrition programs for senior citizens organize services such as low cost hot lunches at senior centers and Meals-on-Wheels for the home bound.  These can make a significant difference in the ability of a person to successfully age in place.

Organizations are also helping to arrange transportation for the elderly to doctor's appointments.  Sometimes volunteers will drive them and sometimes the elderly are eligible for services like low cost taxi vouchers.  These are helpful solutions for people who are no longer able to drive.

Elder abuse is a problem that I have talked about in the past.  While this can mean physical abuse, more frequently it involves financial abuse when trusted family members or advisers swindle money from the elderly.  While there are organizations that try to watch for this type of situation, it can be difficult for people outside the family to detect.

Some of the other discussion topics at this year's summit included helping seniors find affordable housing, locate in-home care or accessing legal assistance.  If you or someone you know could benefit from these services, they should contact case carriers from the state Social Services department or talk to someone at their local senior center to find legitimate sources of help.

In the next couple of weeks, this blog will cover some of the other issues that were discussed at the senior summit, including maintaining your nutritional health as you get older and how to talk to people with Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia.

If you are getting near retirement age, you may also wish to check out the tabs at the top of this blog.  They contain links to hundreds of other articles to help you, including where to retire in the US and abroad, medical issues that could arise, financial planning, and more.

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Photo taken by author, Deborah-Diane; all rights reserved.