Elderly Care Issues: 10 Challenges to Elderly Care in the US

Updated on September 30, 2019

Time passes faster than we like most of the time. One day you look up, and you or someone you love are part of the US geriatric population. Being old comes with its own set of challenges.

Some elderly care issues are ones you may be aware of. Some of these issues you may be surprised to hear about. The elderly care issues listed below are part of an informational guide for when you run into some of the challenges they face in today’s world.

Key Elderly Care Statistics and Challenges

Some of the US elderly population statistics may surprise you. By 2035 in the United States there will be 78 million people age 65 and older. That statistic is a first in the U.S.

For the first time since the founding of America; the elderly population will outnumber the 18 and younger population.

Elderly Research Studies

Research studies have proposed the challenges in dealing with the growing number of elderly are in four overall generic areas. They are:

  1. Long-term care that works better than anything we have in place today. 
  2. Use the advances in medicine and behavioral health to keep the elderly active and healthy.
  3. Community services need to be available to older adults so their active care needs and activities are uninterrupted.
  4. Cultural biases towards the elderly need to be redefined and altered so they can integrate more easily into their communities.

To better meet the needs of this growing elderly statistical number and begin planning how to meet their challenges is not an easy task to accomplish. We must start the process. We need to learn more if we want to have a chance of moving forward in a positive manner with the elderly populations.

Elderly Care Issues

Under the umbrella of the four generic areas which affect the US elderly population, there are ten challenges we need to be aware. Each one of the elderly issues listed below has significant gaps in services which are needed. All of the issues below also represent excellent market opportunities. 

#1 – Financial Wellness

Because people are living longer, the financial cushion of pensions, retirement, and social security aren’t enough. Financial wellness requires that the elderly take new jobs later in life that keep them active and alert. There are new financial planning models needed.

Financial models that take into account the elderly’s projected life expectancy. No one lives forever but with the longer life spans comes more financial need. The elderly’s financial wellness depends on taking care of the financial gaps they may encounter.

#2 – Mobility 

You may notice as you age, it becomes increasingly difficult to move around as you once did. Most homes, as they are designed today are not meant for the elderly. There are too many steps, window heights, and other physical obstacles.

It’s important the elderly stay cautious and not put themselves at risk in unsafe homes or environments. Another challenge for the elderly needs more programs and services which allow them to stay fit, active, and independent as long as possible.

#3 – Mental Stimulation

Scientists now think there are brain activities which help protect the brain’s health. In other words, the brain has a ‘reserve,’ and you can keep it loaded and ready to use, if you participate in mental stimulation activities and events. 

Cognitive training can improve participants mental skills even ten years after the training occurred. Activities also keep your mind active. You can sign up for a cooking class, read books, learn a new hobby, but keep doing something as it helps stimulate your brain.

#4 – Caregiving and Care Coordination

You may not want to think about it, but you may need help with your care as you age. Or you may be dealing with someone who needs care right now. Two-thirds of the elderly have at least two chronic conditions requiring treatment. 

It is these chronic diseases that take 75% of the nation’s healthcare money. But the government hasn’t caught up with what may be needed to improve the current system. The government spends only 1% on efforts to improve healthcare.

#5 – Mental Health and Substance Abuse

We already know the brain needs to stay active and stimulated as we age. But many in the elderly population don’t take care of their mental health and have substance abuse issues. Some elderly abuse their prescription medicine or doctor shop for new medications.

Currently, 25% of the elderly have a mental disorder like depression, anxiety, dementia, PTSD, and more. 

#6 – Physical Accidents

Every 13 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall. Every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. Accidents abound with the elderly population. 

$50 billion is spent each year in our nation, treating the elderly who fall or have an accident. Medicare and Medicaid pay 75% of the $50 billion. But that rate of payment cannot sustain itself.

The challenge is creating a fiscal health care plan that is sustainable.

#7 – Elderly Abuse 

There are times when the elderly will explain away bruises or gashes on their body by saying they fell. But many times, if an investigation is launched caregivers or family members will discover their loved one has been abused. Sometimes this abuse is in their nursing home, assisted living facility, or with a caregiver. 

It is vital this challenge be understood and prevented. 

#8 – Social Isolation

Many elderly have lost their significant other, and their kids are grown, out of the house, or miles away. Social isolation occurs with many elderly, yet they will rarely tell anyone about their isolation nor do they know how to end it. This is an ongoing challenge that needs to be addressed.

#9 – Advance Directives in Writing

The elderly need to have a living will and advance directives in writing, letting their loved ones know about the medical choices. These medical choices need to be activated should the elderly patient become completely incapacitated.

#10 – Age Discrimination 

Many elderly in the US elderly can work and may want to work. But will employers hire them? If employers will hire them, what kind of jobs will they give them? Many employers in the US job market, don’t consider the resumes of elderly applicants. 

This cuts off one lifeline the elderly need. The lifeline is vital for the accumulation of financial savings through their late in life jobs and careers. 

Aging in Place 

Many times elderly care issues begin and end with aging in place. Society needs to try to keep the elderly in communities that facilitate choices. Service efforts which promote aging in place are beneficial to a senior’s quality of life.

The result is significant cost savings and dividends in society. But many elderly are never given an option to age in place. They are living in unkempt conditions or may be at risk in their living quarters. 

If you want to learn more about what you can do to help protect your loved one, reach out to Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC. Our legal team can help you obtain the help your loved one needs. More importantly, our legal team can help your loved one receive the compensation they deserve.

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