Our Aging Population
The aging population has a number of adverse effects on family structures. In the early 1900s, many families had many children. Grandparents would die before these children reached the age of adulthood. Thus, the family structure looked like a pyramid with many children and parents and very few grandparents. However, in the 2000s, the family structure has become more of a lopsided rectangle. More people of different generations are alive at the same time with many families having fewer children and grandparents and great-grandparents living for much longer. By 2030, the family structure would have changed dramatically with more great-grandparents and grandparents, fewer parents and even fewer children (Lee, 2009).
The aging population has had an impact on my life. We take care of my elderly grandmother, who over the years has lost her ability to hear. Her mobility has also come under threat due to her age. We have had to do some renovations in our house in order to accommodate her. The renovations were very expensive to make as well as to maintain. We also have to spend time cooking special meals because of her sensitive stomach. The special food is expensive and is time-consuming to prepare.
Government policies will have to be altered in order to cater to the needs of the elderly. For instance, it is the ultimate responsibility of the government to provide health care services to such individuals. Therefore, planning for health policies will have to include the health care needs of the elderly in the society.
Many people believe that an aging population is more of a burden than it is a blessing. There are however, certain advantages of having an aging populace. There is a low crime rate associated with an aging population. Older people are more law abiding and less inclined to commit crimes. In addition, older people play a huge role in constructing and maintaining informal social networks. These networks in turn, help bind families and the entire community together. It has also been widely observed in developed economies that majority of people who offer voluntary services are elderly. Therefore, they are contributing positively to the economy (Lee, 2009).
Lee, M. (2009, Oct 13th). Aging, Family Structure, and Health. Population Reference Bureau. Retrieved on 22/10/2015 from http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2009/familyandhealth.aspx