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Ethnicity and Aging Essay

The number of older Americans has increased more than ten-fold since 1900,
when there were 3 million people age 65 or older or 4 percent of the total
population. In 2011, the “baby boom” generation will begin to turn 65, and
by 2030, it is projected that one in five people will be age 65 or older.
The size of the older population is projected to double over the next 30
years, growing to 70 million by 2030.The population age 85 and older is
currently the fastest growing segment of the elderly. In 2000, an estimated
2 percent of the population is over 85. By 2050, the percentage in this age
group is projected to increase to almost 5 percent of the United States
population. This change in the population has affected every aspect of
American society, presenting challenges as well as opportunities to
policymakers, families, businesses and healthcare providers. In addition,
as the older population grows larger, it is also becoming more diverse,
reflecting the demographic changes in the United States population as a
whole over the past century. Over the next 50 years, programs and services
for the older population will require greater flexibility to meet the
demands of a diverse and changing population.
As a result, the research being conducted by social scientists and
healthcare workers on different ethnic groups and the aging will be even
more beneficial in the future. The hope is to make life for the elderly as
positive as possible. The more that is known about their individual needs,
the better it will be for all of them.
For example, a number of studies have found that nutrition as well as
nutritional needs vary in ethnicities. Bartholomew, Young, Martin and
(1990) conducted a dietary study of elderly Mexican Americans and non-
Hispanic whites because of the higher incidence of diabetes and infectious
diseases in the former. They assessed 252 low-income individuals age 60 …

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