While population aging worldwide reflects a human success story of longevity, it poses many challenges. The current life expectancy for most Americans is 79.05 years. There are numerous questions and concerns that challenge an extended life expectancy:
- Quality of health and wellness
- Preparation for changes in health, debility, and physical decline
- Ensuring financial resources
- Remaining employed or prepared for retirement
- Access and affordability of healthcare
- Long-term care needs
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 56 million adults ages 65 and older live in the United States, accounting for about 16.9% of the nation’s population. Patients who are living with two or more symptomatic chronic conditions are the nation’s largest, fastest growing, and costliest patient population. This population is associated with increased mortality risk, functional impairment, debility, and utilizers of healthcare resources and expenditures.
Multiple chronic conditions increase in prevalence with age and occurs in approximately two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries. Recognizing the demographics associated with this patient population and implementing best practices through guideline recommendations can influence the quality of life in the aging U.S. population. Maintaining and promoting physical functioning and reducing disease exacerbation are key considerations on aging well in America.