Social Problems Faced by the Aging Community of the United States

The population over sixty»five in the United States is projected to reach 20 percent, presenting a dramatic increase from the four percentjust two decades ago. This rapid demographic change leads to multiple social problems, often-controversial conditions that undermine the well-being of a group of or all members of a society, which impact the aging community. Due to lack of income, vulnerability, and the increasing demands of society, the elderly are often faced with challenges like financial instability, victimization, and isolation, ultimately leading to escalated social problems.

One of the most concerning challenges facing the aging population is financial instability. After retirement, the elderly no longer have a continuous source of income, salary from a job coupled with earnings from other sources, and have to depend on what they have gained from their previous jobs. However, this accumulated wealth is not enough for many people to support their own needs, such as medical care or adequate housing. In fact in 2010, “about 35 million women and men” over the age of sixty—five lived below the government’s poverty line.

Although the demand for healthcare increases as people age, the cost of medical care also increases dramatically as health declines. This presents a complex dynamic in which the elderly become increasingly dependent upon medical care while medical care becomes increasingly inaccessible. Despite the government’s assistance to seniors through Medicare, a program designed to pay medical costs for individuals over sixty~five years of age, the remaining costs that each person must pay easily overwhelm many.

Get quality help now
Doctor Jennifer

Proficient in: Abuse

5 (893)

“ Thank you so much for accepting my assignment the night before it was due. I look forward to working with you moving forward ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

For example, my Due to lack of income, many elderly are also unable to afford housing catered to their needs. Many live in homes in desperate need of insulation, heating, and air-conditioning improvements as well as renovations.

Houses that do not meet these needs pose dangerous risks for the elderly, such as accidental fires or risky stairs that could result in serious injury and death. Another concerning challenge that the aging population faces is victimization. One of the more recently-classified social problems, elder abuse is inflicted upon “between one and two million people age 65 or older” each year, Despite increased attention surrounding elder abuse, which ranges from passive neglect to active verbal, physical, and emotional mistreatment, which led to the organization of elder abuse shelters, such as that of Rochelle Upfal at the Fleischrnan Residence in West Bloomfield, many cases of abuse still continue undetected (Hopkins) One of the most common forms of elder abuse is neglect and occurs overwhelmingly due to stress, For example, parents who are caught between children and work may not have enough time to care for their aging parents. In institutional settings, such as in nursing homes, overwhelmed and underpaid staff are unable to cater to each patient’s needs.

This same stress, coupled with alcohol or drug addictions, previous abuse, or economic uncertainty, could also lead to physical abuse of the elderly, People who are desperate to meet demands may slip into abusive behavior at any moment. A third problem for the aging community is social isolation and coming to terms with death. According to “Aging & Mental Health” by Jina Han and Virginia E. Richardson, “self- perceptions of aging can be risk factors for the development of depressive symptoms in late life”. Retirement from work takes away a major opportunity for people to interact with others, Also, as close friends or spouses die, the elderly are faced with increasing social isolation, leading to risks of depression. In the United States, where the culture pushes death away from the common talk, death is treated as something to avoid, This poses an important challenge for the aging population who have to accept the reality of death, often on their own.

Therefore, although many expect old age to be uncluttered with schedules and peaceful, the elderly are in reality faced with additional social problems, such as financial instability, victimization, and isolation These challenges together escalate the problems for the older population to face as they are further segregated from society. In order to combat the social problems that the elderly have to face, we must recognize and strive to decrease the consequences of ageism and rid this prejudice and discrimination toward the elderly.

Works Cited

  1. Han, Jina, and Virginia E. Richardson. “The Relationships among Perceived Discrimination,”
  2. Aging & Mental Health 138 (2015): 747-53 EBSCO Database Web. 17 June 2015 Hopkins, Carols “Elder Abuse Shelter, Support Now Available in Region.”
  3. Oakland Press News Oakland, 15 June 2015. Web 17 June 2015 Macionis, John J. Social Problems, 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2013, Print.

Cite this page

Social Problems Faced by the Aging Community of the United States. (2022, Sep 13). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7