How the United States (U.S.) Meets the Needs of the Elderly Population


According to Krienert, Walsh & Turner (2009), U.S has many old people. This population forms a significant part of the U.S.; they assist in keeping the state running, as well as the financial system going. As being ageing needs having lived a comparatively long time, the majority old people as well have many information and understanding to share with the younger, and their counsel, even though often unasked, remains typically supportive. Regrettably, these people have lots of problem. Ideally, things that turn out to be old are likely to turn out to be frail, and persons are no exception. Frailty remains definite side-effect of age, furthermore with it emerges needs, the need for care and nurturing as well as assistance with every day chores. In actual fact, the elderly who are living in long-term care amenities, 83 percent of them need as a minimum some assistance with every day tasks. Nevertheless, elderly people need help in cooking; frequently need assistance in walking, or taking bath, or even changing their clothes. It remains all component of what takes place at the time people age, of course, but they still require help (Krienert, Walsh & Turner, 2009).

This paper focuses on the way United States (U.S.) meets the needs of these elderly population.

Problem Statement

How is this problem? And how many aged people in fact require LTC facilities? Ideally, the Americans above 65 years, 60 percent of them will require LTC sometime in their lives. However, the standard span of stay in a LTC facility remains merely 2.5 years, other than some stay longer, having rehabilitating illnesses/problems, or merely being very old and weak to look out of themselves any longer. Nevertheless, as medical knowledge rises, this number will escalate, as increasingly Americans are capable of reaching 65 and above, and the standard age rises. Actually, currently 80 percent of American citizens will bypass 65 years. This denotes that approximately 50 percent of the entire Americans will in the future live in LTC facilities. This figure is rising! (United Nations. Dept. of Economic, 2002).

Literature Review

About ten years ago, the American elderly population accounted for 12 percent of the general population. This was according to the U.S. census Bureau and that also projected the number to rise for about 9 percent by 2050. This critically shows that Americans live longer nowadays as compared to the previous years. This is not the case, but healthier lives for this group of people remains necessary and therein falls in the U.S. healthcare system’s problem (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010).

Regarding social need of the elderly people in the U.S., the country has not done much to meet this need. As Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies Communications (2014) outlines, housing remains vital to value of life for populace of all eras, but particularly for elder adults. Despite the fact that the U.S. is experiencing unprecedented growth of older generation, the country remains not ready to meet their housing needs. However, having in mind that it is expected that this population will grow up to 133 million by the year 2030, there is still deficiency of physical accessible, inexpensive, well-situated, as well as services and support coordinated housing. It is evident that about 30 percent of this population encounters high costs of houses where they pay over a third of their earnings for residential that do not actually meet their needs. With this regard, they are forced to cut the costs of healthcare, food, and savings. On the other hand, the housing inventory of the country is deficient of the basic necessibility qualities that prevent this population from living comfortable and safe life in the residential places. These features incorporate extra-wide doorways, no-step entries, and faucet handles and lever-style door (Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies Communications, 2014).

Still on social aspect, the country has tried in its capacity to meet the healthcare needs of the elderly although there is a lot to be done. According to Vincent and Velkoff (2010), as much as the American elderly population continuous to grow, life expectancy remains at an unprecedented virtually high of 78 years. However, the over 84-years individuals (oldest old persons) remains the best ever growing part of the populace. Despite this, extremely a small number of doctors are educated in the elderly care. Ideally, there is presently one elderly doctor to every 10,000 geriatric! This is surprising as the country has approximately three times as many cosmetic surgeons. This statistics specks on the way the U.S. view elderly (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010).

In most elderly and young children in America, malnutrition remains a challenge of rising nationwide concern. However, current studies have revealed that 25 percent of older Americans experience poor nutrition. This is despite the fact that National nutrition programs, for instance the ENP (Elderly Nutrition Program) that is financed by the management on aging, have an important function to play in the address of this concern. Scores of older Americans are not eating healthy. In most cases, those without teeth find it hard to chew as well as others have a difficult time reaching the grocery hoard, particularly in case where they are not driving. Still others merely cannot have enough money to purchase the type of food, which could assist in keeping them healthy. In reality, millions of elderly Americans remain hungry or concerned about the source of their then meal (Florida International University, n.d). This actually shows how the government has not done much to meet this elderly need.

Although consistent poverty values for the U.S. do not expand extremely far back eventually, the statistics that are available reveal that, until lately scores of the elderly population are poor. Many persons over 64 years of age live in poverty. This is for the grounds that this people have low incomes as well as few reactions to economic problem. This is despite the fact that there are societal developed programs, which convey resources to the aged as well as protect them from jeopardy. Although some of these programs remain partly successful, the rate of elderly poverty still remains rampart in America. Presently, 3.4 million elderly live in poverty. Furthermore, millions of them are struggling barely to make ends meet slightly above the poverty threshold. If the country had enhanced poverty measures, the aged poverty rate would have been significantly low. Ideally, the present poverty measures provide no concern to healthcare rates, among other challenges (DeNavas-Walt, 2010).

As America’s populace ages, the psychological as well as behavioral healthcare services need persists. However, Psychologists have a significant responsibility in taking care of these needs by managing the psychological as well as behavioral healthcare challenges of the elderly, predominantly those in unprivileged communities. Generally, America has not met the psychological needs of the elderly. Yearly, an about 4 million elderly Americans form victims of psychological, physical or other types of mistreatment and abandon. On the other hand, conventional approximations put the total number of elderly who have been subjugated, injured, or else abused at approximately 1-2 million. However, this just forms the only sample of the many elderly who encounter these problems in America (Florida International University, n.d). Another research outlines that only 7 percent of domestic elderly abuse events appears to the awareness of authorities. Approximately 400 percent of the novel events of neglect, abuse, as well as self-neglect remain unreported. On the other hand, it is evident that elderly persons above 79 years suffer neglect and abuse at 200 percent of their counterpart older population (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010).


I can say that America has not done much in meeting the elderly needs. Firstly, notwithstanding the fact that the country is experiences unprecedented elderly population growth, it is not ready to meet their housing needs. Secondly, very few doctors are trained to take care of the elderly. Thirdly, 25 percent of elderly still experience poor nutrition despite the fact that the country has developed programs like the ENP. Fourthly, many individuals over 64 years of age still live in poverty. Lastly, about 4 million aged people in Americans fall victims of psychological, physical or other types of mistreatment and abandon.


DeNavas-Walt, C. (2010). Income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States (2005). DIANE Publishing.

Florida International University. (n.d). Malnutrition and Older Americans. National Aging Information Center. Retrieved on Sep 9, 2015 from

Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies Communications. (September 2, 2014) U.S. unprepared for housing needs of aging population. Harvard Gazette. Retrieved on Sep 9, 2015 from

Krienert, J. L., Walsh, J. A., & Turner, M. (2009). Elderly in America: A descriptive study of elder abuse examining National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data, 2000–2005. Journal of elder abuse & neglect, 21(4), 325-345.

United Nations. Dept. of Economic. (2002). World population ageing, 1950-2050 (No. 207). New York: United Nations.

Vincent, G. K., & Velkoff, V. A. (2010). The next four decades: The older population in the United States: 2010 to 2050 (No. 1138). US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau.

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