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Paper Topic:

What is the “graying of the United States”? What two factors are causing this trend? What are some of the likely consequences of this trend for our way of life? How is ageism like sexism and racism? How is it different? If older people are disadvantaged,

The Graying ' of the United States

The graying ' of the United States refers to the rather rapid growth of the elderly sector (aged 65 years and older ) of the population . As early as the mid-1990s , this sector was already estimated at 13 of the country 's population . It is expected to reach approximately 20 by 2050 The elderly sector could be broken up into two groups . The first group is composed of those who are aged sixty-five up to seventy-five years and who are , by and large , able to care for themselves even

for their economic needs . The second group consists of those who are over seventy-five years old . These people are considered greatly dependent on others both physically and financially . Researchers attributed this growth to the fact that life expectancy has gone up by about 30 years due to medical advances - meaning that women born during the 20th century are expected to live up to 79 years of age while men should reach 73 years (Macionis , 1995 . Another reason cited by researchers is the aging of the baby boomers which is estimated to contribute around 75 million to the elderly population of the country (Libow , 2005

This increase in longevity has both positive and negative effects on Americans . On one hand , it allows parents and children to spend and enjoy more time with each other , resulting to more significant experiences occurring in the family . On the other hand , care for the elderly means that Americans will not only be drained financially but will also be burdened emotionally . In fact the reason why the elderly has become sort of excluded is because they remind people of their own fears : disease and disability due to old age , aside from the inevitability of death itself (Newman Smith , 1999

The elderly is experiencing discrimination simply because of their age Some sectors of society consider them slow-witted , prone to disease unemployable , and generally socially worthless (Newman Smith 1999 . Nevertheless , some sociologists contend that the disadvantages they suffer are only consistent with their status in society and not comparable to those being experienced by the so-called minority groups For this reason , these sociologists are of the opinion that the elderly sector of society should not be labeled as a minority group (Macionis 1995


Libow , L .S (2005 . Geriatrics in the United States - Baby Boomer 's Boon ? The New

England Journal of Medicine . Retrieved November 13 , 2007 from

HYPERLINK "http /content .nejm .org /cgi /content /full /352 /8 /750 http /content .nejm .org /cgi /content /full /352 /8 /750

Macionis , J .J (1995 . Chapter 15 : Aging and the Elderly . Sociology Prentice-Hall , Inc

Retrieved November 13 , 2007 from

HYPERLINK "http /cwx .prenhall .com /bookbind /pubbooks /macionis7 /chapter15 /objective s /deluxe-content .html http /cwx .prenhall .com /bookbind /pubbooks /macionis7 /chapter15 /objectives /deluxe-content .html

Newman , D Smith , R (1999 . The Global Dynamics of Populations Demographic

Trends . Retrieved November 13 , 2007 from

HYPERLINK "http /www .pineforge .com /newman4study /resources /graying .htm http /www .pineforge .com /newman4study /resources /graying .htm...

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