For this post, we will explore some of those numbers as we take a look at the aging population statistics. A portion of the population that cannot be ignored, as they are a strong force to be reckoned with in many areas. As consumers, voters, politicians and professionals, they are a force to be taken seriously. But, is what we see and hear the real statistics, or just a way to read the numbers?
Bigger, slower and wiser. Yep that about sums it all up. There are more to be seen and be heard, and can easily be spotted in any crowd. Be it the gray hair, or that cane in hand for a steadier walk. The numbers are there and almost all trends are showing an increase year over year.
The Explosion Of The Boomers
Big numbers, seriously big numbers. In America alone, for those 65+, it is a sector of the population that, just like the waistlines, expansion is the buzzword that can’t be overlooked. It is expected that the numbers will slightly more than double ( 46 million to 98 million) in the next 40 years.
Statistics show that boomers peaked at just above 78 million some years back, and are now declining, then again, depending on which research one reads, this can be a bit misleading. Just because a particular generation has a title attached to it, does not mean the age of the population will lessen.
As the overall population continues to increase in size, different sectors will expand while others begin or continue to wane. While it is true that the baby boomer generation may have peaked in the last few years, they are living longer, healthier and smarter than ever before. How will this affect the overall population down the road?
In the next 12 years, and, after the results of the 2020 Census, total demographics will show a new shift in balance. Also, taking into consideration are percentages of the populations coming in from outside of the United States. What about other countries? What are their population breakdowns?
Healthcare Costs, Facilities, And Staffing
Care for the aged, it is now a large part of our healthcare systems. The numbers alone seem to have their own mood swings depending on where one looks. As little as $280,000 to as much as $500,000 will be needed for those in need of treatments, and it depends on what treatments are being sought, costs of medicines and whether the person has insurance. How many will not be able to afford, or follow the latest trend of care, then, claiming bankruptcy.
There is more to the picture surrounding affordable healthcare for those 60+, in that information is showing current trends that may not bode well. While approximately 40% of out-of-pocket costs have been the norm, it is expected to increase to 50% by 2030, and that is for those on Medicare. This will eat up funds necessary for housing, food and other basic needs.
When it comes to facilities, it appears that there is an abundance of new and older companies expanding their reach into new facilities, or purchasing existing ones to add to the number of locations. All comes at a cost, and it is considered big money to those in the game. Long term care expenditures in the U.S. alone hovered at around $225 billion in 2015 and projected costs to almost double that amount in a matter of just a few years. It has become quite profitable for these nursing care centers, retirement living and others to jump into the business of caring for our older population.
In order to lessen costs, many are opting to go the home health care route. Whether it is done by a family member or through one of the many companies that provide the service, it is a vastly growing sector. It is projected that the number of companies providing these services is expected to increase from 37,000 (2017) to 41,000 (2021). This may not sound like much but when one takes into consideration that each provider can have up to hundreds of skilled nursing caregivers, it adds up in the number of patients and the bottom line for both the providers and the payers.
This sector of the industry is growing by leaps and bounds and the number of openings for service providers is considered a hot trend as of 2019. Usually the staff in the home healthcare industry will be made up of CNA’s or home health aids, who will toil their skills, for what seems to be meager wages. While most are very caring and capable of dealing with long hours at work, many are attending or seeking additional schooling in order to achieve better pay.
Round Numbers – The Skinny On Obesity
Let’s face it, everyone knows someone that is “fat”. What an ugly word! It is so demeaning that many get bullied just for this term alone. That’s how some in younger generations (teens) might see it, but when someone is older, the word “obesity” is the preferred choice and it is not one that gets thrown around as a put down.
It is only natural that one’s weight increases in today’s society and much of it can depend on lifestyle choices. When someone goes for a checkup with their physician, one of the 1st factors added to your chart will be your BMI. There it is, the hidden word for the meaning of being “fat”, or “obese”, but the fact remains that it is an indicator to your well-being.
Here is an interactive BMI Calculator for you to use to determine where you stand at this point in life:
Supplied by BMI Calculator USA
So what is the difference between being obese and just being overweight? Good question.
On your results above, if your BMI is in the range between 25 – 29.9, you are considered to be overweight. A result of 30 and higher, you now fall into the “obese” category.
Over the last 5 years, experts have told us that the number of adults over 60, and even more so over 65, have seen a 3% increase in obesity. A lot of that will fall into the thinking and realization that as sexagenarians, we are not as active as we once were and many times struggle just to stay that way. Another factor is due to the fact that many are held back by various illnesses and diseases that make it harder to move around.
Another point to consider in factoring BMI, is the fact that the majority of the population tends to shrink in height. Thus increasing the chances of being classified as obese (height x weight). While there is nothing we can do to fix the height part, working on being active along with proper nutrition can certainly make a positive change on your numbers and your overall health.
So are you in the shrinking stage? The answer is always yes. Bones, muscles, and joints all play into this game of numbers. It starts a bit slow and by the time one reaches their 40s, loosing as much as a half inch for each 10 year period is normal. Once achieving the life goal of becoming a septuagenarian (70 – 79), loosing as much as 1 – 3 inches is deemed to be normal. Hello gravity!
Effects Of Obesity – And A Hidden Surprise
By now one has a good idea on where they stand, now lets see what other ails can come from being obese.
- High Cholesterol
- Heart Disease
- Respiratory Conditions
- Various Cancers
Not a pretty list and the effects can make life even more difficult. Sometimes the choices we make to get healthier can be a cause to becoming overweight or obese. Take into consideration quitting smoking. Just about all persons that have quit will tell you that there is weight gain involved. Now, it is just a matter of making wise choices on how to deal with the gain.
There are 2 gains in this case. The first is the fact that they have quit smoking, gives them a considerable psychological positive edge. Then comes the weight gain, which in itself tends to be a natural depressant. Flip a coin, either way, its win and loose at the same time.
So what happens when you loose a couple of pounds? As little as a 5-10% drop in weight can do many wonders for not only the body, but also the psyche as well.
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Less inflammation
- Decreased joint pain
- Improved cholesterol levels
- Decreased risk of diabetes
- Less back pain and improved mobility
There are many other benefits to loosing a couple of pounds and it is suggested that one should contact their physician and have a good talk with him or her regarding your current situation.
So what is the hidden surprise? Here is an article written by Betsy Mills, PhD. that will reveal what we don’t usually think about when it comes to obesity. Click here to read it now!
Bet you were not expecting that were one?
Now that we know that obesity can have an effect on our central command center, lets take a look at some more numbers.
Mention the word Alzheimer’s and just about everyone knows what you are talking about. Mention the word Dementia and most likely someone will tell you they are the same thing. Yes and no. It is estimated that 60 to 80% of dementia cases are actually Alzheimer related.
There are other forms of dementia that include Parkinson’s dementia, vascular dementia, as well as alcohol-related dementia.
When dealing with Alzheimer’s, it has become the 6th largest cause of death in the U.S. alone. In the last 19 years, an increase of 125% of the population is shown to have died from this disease. That means that 1/3 of senior citizens not only suffer, but die due to this terrible disease.
Projections include some big numbers for Dementia and that includes Alzheimer’s(60% – 80%) under the umbrella:
Parts of Asia 225%
United States 245%
That equates to approximately 105 million adults suffering from Alzheimers by 2050.
It is estimated that costs will increase from approximately $270 million to over $1 trillion dollars in diagnosis and medical care by mid century. Early detection and accurate diagnosis could be save up to 5x that amount as more adults are diagnosed.
Several years ago, a research study was done at a university in Pennsylvania to see if the use of brain training games could help with cognition in adults. The participants included 71 men and 57 women. They used a combination of cognitive games along with online video games and found that there was no difference between the two. There is only 1 simple problem with their study. All the adults that participated were younger adults and no older adults were included. Without the older set, the results appear to be skewed.
Non invasive eye imaging for detection of Alzheimers using PET scans.
Advanced research has shown that electrical stimulation to the parts of the brain that are degenerating can have an impact on improving memory.
Seeking biomarkers to find changes in a person’s microRNA as an early detection tool.
Porphyromonas gingivalis (p. gingivalis) a keystone pathogen in chronic periodontitis was found to be present in patients with the Alzheimer’s disease.
Hopefully all of these research studies will begin to help lessen the projected numbers for the future and lessen the overall costs. Time and results will be our greatest alliance for the future.
In Closing – Those Left Out
There are a lot more numbers that we can come up with and they each have an impact on our daily lives. Depending on how one looks at the numbers, they are not small by any means. To a doctor, researcher, manufacturer, retailer and more, all the data has an impact not only on lives, but on economies too.
How many walking canes are needed for the next decade? What about diapers? More nurses, facilities, disabled parking spaces…. the list can go on and on.
All of our lives will intersect and be affected by not only those that are aging, becoming obese, or develop any of the diseases, but also with possible solutions. In the future, how discoveries may allow us to not only lessen diseases, but the ability to live longer, much longer.
To you, I say be strong, be resourceful with your health, and stay active as much as possible for the sake of longevity. Thank you for reading this post and please feel free to comment and send me some of your numbers, they all matter!
Being a sexagenarian myself, I’m gonna go for a nice walk with a young one holding my hand for a special treat!
That’s my show