The Impacts of an Aging Population on Society 

Those born between 1946 and 1964 grew up in a completely different era than the one we’re familiar with today. World War II had just ended, “It’s a Wonderful Life” had mesmerized audiences and the first season of “I Love Lucy” premiered to over 10 million viewers. People were living the American Dream, and with that dream came an abundance of babies, hence the generational name “baby boomers.” 

In 2022, baby boomers became the second largest generational group in the United States with 69.6 million people ranging from ages 58 to 76. Even now, as they continue to age, more and more baby boomers are retiring every day. As it stands, approximately 10,000 people reach the retirement age of 65 daily. 

But how will a rapidly aging population impact society as we know it? Its effects will be felt on a national level as well as a personal level, as we outline in detail below. 

The Economic Implications of an Aging Population Could Be Significant 

The sizeable number of older people retiring every week translates to a smaller pool of working-age people. Down the road, this could lead to a lack of qualified workers in a multitude of industries. And if businesses are unable to fill in-demand roles, the American economy could suffer multiple losses, including:  

  • Higher labor costs 
  • Slower business expansion 
  • Loss of a competitive business edge internationally 

 By 2030, all boomers will be over the age of 65. As their age increases, so too will their need for healthcare. From rehabilitation to dialysis and every specialty in between, the U.S. will need to allocate more money and resources for geriatric healthcare systems to ensure proper care for older adults. 

There Will Be Shifts in Family Dynamics 

There was once a time when your parents cooked your dinner, made sure you showered at night and tucked you into bed. As the years pass, you come closer and closer to having those familial roles reversed. 

When parents can no longer care for themselves, it usually becomes the responsibility of younger family members to take care of them. This changes the infrastructure of the roles within the family, with younger generations often taking on the responsibility of caregiver for their aging parents or grandparents. 

A few common familial shifts and challenges to consider include: 

  • Providing additional emotional support to parents and elder family members. 
  • Offering financial support to cover the cost of medical care or assisted living. 
  • Creating a generational bridge that ensures younger generations spend time and foster relationships with older family members. 
  • Planning for life after death by helping with wills, estate management and end-of-life care. 

Elderly-Approved Tech Innovations Could Benefit Older Adults 

There is a bright side to being part of the aging population in the 21st century: Technology is in its prime. With so much innovation, there are plenty of ways the elderly can improve their lives as they age. Here are a few up-and-coming technological advancements that are sure to be senior-citizen-approved:  

Self-Driving Vehicles 

Gone are the days when issues like diminishing eyesight and lessened mobility deemed whether older adults were fit to drive themselves to this week’s pickleball tournament. Now, multiple car manufacturers are offering autonomous vehicles. These cars can sense their environment and operate without the requirement of human assistance. With self-driving vehicles, the aging population can retain more of an independent lifestyle despite a minor health setback or two.  

At-Home Robot Companions 

Robot lawnmowers exist, so why shouldn’t elderly-support robots join the party? Enter Astro, a cute little robot companion who’s capable of assisting older folks in everyday tasks, including: 

  • Letting them know who’s at the door. 
  • Carrying a cup of their afternoon tea. 
  • Responding to simple requests. 
  • Serving as their friendly, at-home companion. 
  • Setting up reminders or shopping lists. 

 Children of older adults can also stay informed about how family members are doing by using some of Astro’s other functions, like: 

  • Sending Astro to certain rooms to check on loved ones. 
  • Calling Astro to speak with family members. 

Healthcare Demands May Increase 

According to the World Health Organization, the number of people aged 65 or older will double from the year 2010 to 2050, at which time will be nearly 1.5 billion elderly adults on the planet. And with so many advances in the medical industry, the average person’s life expectancy will also increase. With age, though, comes the potential for certain conditions to become more prevalent, including:  

  • Cancer 
  • Dementia 
  • Obesity 
  • Depression 
  • Increased falls

With the possibility of more cases of these and other conditions to treat, the healthcare system can expect more challenges, such as: 

  • A shortage of healthcare professionals to treat the elderly. 
  • An increase in resources needed across all healthcare settings. 
  • More changes in family expectations, which could lead to a need for more caregiving professionals for older adults. 

If you’re tired of waiting on the sidelines and you’re ready to take the next step in your gerontology career, look no further. With the University of Florida’s master’s degree in gerontology, you’ll receive foundational knowledge that’ll prepare you for a career in geriatric care. From the psychological and sociological aspects of aging to the biological factors involved, our 36-credit program is entirely online, so you can work at your own pace from almost anywhere.   

Secure your future in the field of aging by applying to our program today. 

Sources:
https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/entertainment/g4505/50-facts-about-the-50s/?slide=10
https://www.insiderintelligence.com/charts/united-states-population-by-generation/ 
https://www.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-2018/census-baby-boomers-fd.html
https://www.ncoa.org/article/tech-innovations-that-are-improving-the-way-we-age
https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/the-aging-population-the-increasing-effects-on-health-care