What is gerontology? Gerontology is the study of aging and the problems associated with aging (University of Southern California, 2017). Not to be confused with geriatrics, which focuses strictly on the medical conditions and disease of the aging (University of Southern California, 2017). Why are gerontology and geriatrics so important? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the life expectancy in the U.S. will be 77.1 years for men and 81.9 years for women by 2020 (University of Southern California, 2017). People are living longer, just as the American’s largest generation- the Baby Boomers are reaching their geriatric time of life. Due to the increase in life expectancy, growing number of aging people, as well as a decrease in the younger population, the geriatric population ( Age 65 and greater) will be the largest percentage of the U.S. population than ever before (Eldercare Workforce Alliance, 2013). To paint a more vivid picture, approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day and by 2030, older adults will make up 20% of the American population (Eldercare Workforce Alliance, 2013). As of today the American geriatric population stands at 13% (Eldercare Workforce Alliance, 2013). There are many problems that face healthcare and the nation as the growing population of aging people increases. Some of the issues that could be looked at are, the increase in government spending on pensions, healthcare, and social benefits programs for the elderly (Nikolova, 2016). Or, how aging correlates to multiple chronic illnesses, the expense to treat, and cost of readmissions to the hospital (Freudenheim, 2010). Or, the number of people greater than 65 years old, that are leaving the workforce, leaving gaps in many industries, or supporting aging adults as they extend their careers past they typical retirement age. Or, how to keep people as they age engaged in society, healthy and maintain their personal wellbeing. These are all big issue staring us in the face, but what is needed in healthcare today to support the challenges of the aging population? The biggest issue that is staring the United States in the face is who will care for all these patients to provide quality care to enhance the quality of life for patients as they are and live longer than ever before. Let’s take a further look of what healthcare needs to alleviate this burden before we are in the thick of this potential healthcare crisis.
Purpose of this Course
The purpose of this course is to look into issues that healthcare is facing with caring for a growing population of aging patients to provide the best care that provides the best quality of life.
- To understand the purpose of gerontology, geriatrics and special populations
- To define the geriatric and special population of patients
- To identify solutions to provide quality access to healthcare that will provide independence to the geriatric and special population.