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The Gray Tsunami - An Aging Population

Society & Culture  (tags: Aging, americans, culture, education, ethics, family, freedoms, government, humans, law, media, politics, rights, society )

- 2096 days ago -
The world faces a wave of aging, and with it wrenching social and economic changes. An Arizona retirement community hints at things to come.

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Past Member (0)
Monday September 24, 2012, 1:10 pm
Climate change will take care of, not only the aging population, but also, ALL OF THE POPULATION.

Nonetheless, there is something profoundly wrong with the ghettoization of the elderly. For 99% of human history, the elderly have been part of an extended family, to be cared for by their children, and to provide their children with lessons regarding culture, history, and wisdom.

The trend to reject the elderly, to shun them by putting them in "communities," and to hide from the inevitability of death and loss is a relatively recent phenomena...and it is nothing less than an ABOMINATION. If this is the best that we can do for those who brought us into this world and who raised us, then we, as a nation and as a species, do not deserve to exist another day.

JL A (281)
Monday September 24, 2012, 1:25 pm
Del Webb had hotels in CA before he began retirement communities--and developed a number in CA--many smaller than Sun City. One paragraph screamed at me:
"Over the next 40 years, according to United Nations estimates, the majority of the world’s immigrants will head to the United States. “We have higher fertility because we’re an immigrant-receiving country,” Glick says. Bearing children at higher rates than their hosts and taking lower-paying jobs in hospitals and nursing homes, the new arrivals have the potential to alleviate two problems at once, those of rapid aging and a shortage of caregivers. “In the Anglo world,” Glick continues, “the over-65 portion is increasing, but the child population we have is dynamic. So I think there will be enough labor to provide care” for the elderly, she says."

Which argues for the need to effectively improve immigration policy for the US to be ready for the needs a few years hence.

Terry King (113)
Monday September 24, 2012, 4:37 pm
Brace yourselves... Here we come!

Kit B (276)
Monday September 24, 2012, 4:43 pm

The question is not about who will care for aging as much as how America can deal the growing population of the soon to be future. The "baby-boomers" may be the last generation that has prepared for old age, though we will soon learn if that preparation is enough to last the term of life.

Rose Becke (141)
Monday September 24, 2012, 4:45 pm
A great post Kit

Past Member (0)
Monday September 24, 2012, 5:24 pm

cecily w (0)
Tuesday September 25, 2012, 11:14 am
We do not need to increqase the number of births--that just passes along the problem of population growth to future generations. In fact we need to decrease births. Until 1946, U.S. births were less than 3 million a year. Suddenly, they increased--and kept increasing. (Last year U.S. births exceeded U.S. deaths by 1.56, million and that excess was "down" from many previous years.) In fact, the highest number of U.S. births ever recorded occurred in 2007.

In a way, dealing with the post World War II Baby Boom reaching elderly status is an example of a "Perfect Storm". Besides an unprecedented number of babies being born from 1946-1964 (and this hyperfertility did not stop during most years since then), people were living longer--which is good because we don't need people to die prematurely either. WE DO NEED TO GET OF THE IDEA THAT EVER INCREASING NUMBERS OF YOUNG ARE REQUIRED TO SUPPORT THE OLD.

In the Western World, when we point to the young supporting the old, we normally mean financial support on a societal level--like Social Security. Changes should be made in the Social Security Old Age benefits program, but I won't go into them here. We also need to find additional means of supporting the old, not replacing Social Security type programs but serving as supplementation.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday September 25, 2012, 11:35 am

Very true Cecily. The growth bomb of the US and world population has been ignored for to long. The world does have limited resources, and ever more people to feed. There is a point when no country can help others, because their own resources are redirected to feed their own.

Christeen A (371)
Tuesday September 25, 2012, 12:47 pm
Thanks for the article. Seniors need to be protected and cared for. They earned it.

Kate Kenner (215)
Tuesday September 25, 2012, 1:46 pm
I know I'll be unpopular but this is why there are diseases and keeping people alive when their bodies have worn out doesn't work. Many old people stay alive with drugs and machines. It upsets the natural order of things. I know people do not like seeing their loved ones die but this isn;t working and death happens to make room for the new. There are far too many people on the planet and I don't mean to say that the elderly are disposable but they should be allowed to die when it is their time, not when modern medicine says its OK.

Sharon F (0)
Tuesday September 25, 2012, 3:20 pm
Seniors in the USA worked hard and smart to create this good life. Let's all get out and work to re-elect Obama so we don't become a Feudalistic Caste system. Many of us have already been classified as the 47%. We should not sit idly by and let the ReTHUGnicans jerk us around.

People should not be put in boxes--senior centers, teen centers, child care centers. The normal thing is for all ages to interact. Young people should talk with older people rather than watching trash on TV.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday September 25, 2012, 3:40 pm

Well said Shar, for many generations we honored the elderly and loved to share in their stories and offerings for the young. Young people are losing on the touch, feel and love from the elderly.

Antonia Windham (6)
Tuesday September 25, 2012, 3:56 pm
Kate Kenner, many people in general - not just old people - have their lives saved by drugs and machines when they'd have otherwise died. And a 5-year-old child being saved through medical intervention also "upsets the natural order of things" - since the "natural" thing (before the advent of medical technologies) would have been for the child to die.

If we're going to insist that those of us who are older should accept a lesser standard of medical care than that given to the young to keep the population down, then fairness demands everyone should accept the same lesser standard of medical care - since the young contribute to the population. Unless we've chosen to place the old in a special category of uselessness?

I'd advocate that rather than let people die from preventable illnesses we'd do well to restrict births, if we've a mind to lower the population. I've no love for forced birth control but it's a hell of a lot better than forced death.

Antonia Windham (6)
Tuesday September 25, 2012, 4:02 pm
But as the article points out the population growth doesn't appear as explosive as many believe, at least in the developed world. Which is kind of commonsensical. If an economy's healthy and people're educated fertility rates go down. More jobs mean more women're able to work outside the home rather than raise large families fulltime. More financial stability means less need for many children to ensure at least some'll survive to support parents in old age. Etc.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday September 25, 2012, 4:10 pm

Antonia, it's worth noting that the US government predicts a huge increase in the US population, while other Western countries and Japan show stability in population growth the US does not. That is with out including the expected numbers of immigrants that will be coming to the US. With in the next 35 to 50 years our population will increase by 150 million, that will take resources and manageability by the government.

Drug do save lives, that is not in question, what is most in question is how many are taking the proper medications?

marie C (163)
Tuesday September 25, 2012, 4:48 pm
Noted thank you Kit

Talya H (10)
Tuesday September 25, 2012, 4:49 pm
Thanks for the share!~

Jane H (139)
Wednesday September 26, 2012, 11:30 am
great post and comments--thanks everyone. My children have directions from me to PULL THE PLUG, stop the anibiotics, don't force feed me, etc....a living will. I don't want to be a burden on my kids or the gov't. I'm ready to go anytime.

wolfNoFwdsPls a (135)
Monday October 1, 2012, 5:02 am
Case# 1246
Seems, some sorry censored pitiful censored CENSORED (or, possibly though not likely at all: some strange unexplicable phenomenon) has aaAaaaaaaaaggggain been very busy deleting my comment(s), unless, of course, they disappeared magicallly. Kind of a very-well-established habit meanwhile. There is something EXTREMELY ROTTEN in care2 ...

And isn't it .. errr shall we say: fascinatingly remarkable, how (very targeted) someone/thing/whatever here @care2 keeps, for years now --per-sis-tent-ly-- deleting (some) comments (of some users), WHEREAS --in appalling sharp contrast-- care2 has not even managed to delete spam postings when the spammer's profile gets deleted ?

" I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed. " -- Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)


Cannot currently send a GreenStar to Brian M. (118) , with whose comment i couln't agree more.
Yes, it seems Climate Change and environmental poisoning will take care of the one problem humankind was aware of for decades AND would have had the means to handle -- but was too dumb to take care of.
good riddance.
" We wouldn't be the first life-form to wipe itself out. But what would be unique about us is that we did it knowingly. ... Why didn't we save ourselves when we had the chance? Is the answer: because, on some level, we weren't sure if we'd be worth saving? " -- 'The Archivist of the Future' in "The Age of Stupid" (2009) -- (imho:) *highly recommendable*


Hi Kit,

wolfNoFwdsPls A.. left a comment on the following article:

The Gray Tsunami - An Aging Population

The world faces a wave of aging, and with it wrenching social and economic changes. An Arizona retirement community hints at things to come.


> The world faces a wave of aging ...
which would even be considerably MORE pronounced for a *stable* (ie. not-growing) population.

Currently, For every 100 humans that die, ~240 are born., but, of course, " Things that can't go on forever don't. " -- Chalmers Johnson in Standing Army (2010)

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