- Report Published -
|Aging in the 21st Century|
|Secretary of Health and Human Resources|
|SJR 294 (Regular Session, 1993)|
|The rapid increase in the aging of the population in Virginia will impact every facet of life for both the young and the old, particularly health care, education, transportation, long-term care, employment, and housing. The effects will be felt by both the state government and by local governments.|
Life will clearly be different for the elderly. Their numbers will make up an increasing proportion of the population, especially as the baby boomers begin to retire around 2010. The years of life after retirement will be longer because of increasing life expectancy. The elderly will be more culturally and racially diverse, with more Asians and Hispanics. Social Security will be a small part of retirement income; pensions and savings will be necessary to maintain the same life style. The growing number of persons over age 75 will increase the need for community-based and facility-based long-term care services, despite the efforts of the public and private sectors to limit cost and demand.
For many children of the elderly, caregiving will replace childrearing as a major consumer of time, energy, and resources. More elderly than ever before will be dependent on their adult children. However, there will be fewer children to help because of declining birth rates and smaller family size, changing family patterns and family mobility. Although families still provide the majority of assistance to their older loved ones, there is a decline in the extended family structure where several generations of one family live together in the same home community.
The future is not necessarily bleak for the elderly. Elderly Virginians on average will be healthier, wealthier and better educated than their parents. On the other hand, they will need to be financially prepared for a longer and more expensive retirement if they want to live at the same standard they enjoyed during their working years.