Elderly People in the USA

by Lissa Kimble, June 2014

2100 words

7 pages


Elderly people in the USA are a special group that is not researched well enough and that has certain social and cultural peculiarities that should be taken into consideration while developing programs for their social adaptation and elimination all possible manifestations of societal discrimination. It is generally believed that this group is rather homogenous in its composition and it is quite easy to understand the main problems that this group faces and to develop effective solutions for these problems. The main issues that are considered to be the most traumatic for elderly people include psychological distress, diseases and social distress caused by low income However, the idea about group homogeneousness is an illusion because this social group comprises more than 40 million people or 13% of total population of the USA, this is almost one in every eight Americans. It should be also mentioned that this figure is increasing with every single year because aging of the population is a global tendency that finds its reflection in the USA. Furthermore, this group comprises different ethnical minorities that face both social and ethnical discriminations. This fact enables the researchers to state that elderly people belonging to ethnical minorities suffer from double jeopardy. The main thesis of this work is that elderly people in the USA can be called a specific multicultural group that suffers from various manifestations of societal discrimination.

The U.S. Census Bureau has created a typical profile of the elderly American. According to the data they represent a typical elderly American is a woman who is lives alone, has the median income of $15,072 that consists mainly of Social Security, income from assets and private pensions. While commenting on this profile it is necessary to underline several important things. First of all, the percentage of the elderly population is constantly increasing. The tempo of increasing reaches 30%, the total life expectancy is also increasing and reaches 18.8 additional years. Elderly people who identify themselves as belonging to racial and ethnical minorities consisted 20% of the whole group in 2010: African-Americans—8.4%; persons of Hispanic origin—6.9%; Asian or Pacific Islander— 3.5%; American Indian or Native Alaskan—almost 1%; persons belonging to two or more races—0.8%. Elderly women outnumber elderly men considerably and in their majority elderly women are widows. Elderly men are married and a typical household of elderly Americans comprises a husband and a wife who are older than 65 years. At the same time almost 30% of elderly Americans live alone. One of the most worrying figures is the fact that almost 9% of elderly people live below the poverty level. We believe that the facts mentioned above prove that elderly people in the USA need special attention from the government, social institutions and charitable organisations. There can be an argument that most elderly people have children and grandchildren who are supposed to take care of them but the researches show that the young generation of Americans do not want to take responsibility of their elderly relatives …

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