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Global Aging: A Little Look Around the World

Just out of curiosity, I recently sat down to do some research about how the world population is aging. I was interested in how other areas of the world are aging. Are the factors driving the aging population growth in the U.S. true in other countries as well? Here is a little bit of what I found.

 

There are excellent resources through the United Nations Population Division. As recently as late 2014, they published updated statistics that tell the global aging story. It was all very interesting.

 

For instance, during the years 2005 – 2010, the rate of death of persons 65 years and older was 50% per 100 total deaths. This was a significant change from the period 1950 – 1955. During that five year period, the rate of death among persons 65 and older was 22% per 100 deaths (all ages).

 

On first glance these numbers might seem incorrect, but there is a logical explanation. The increase in older age deaths was due to the reduction of child-age deaths, which had a worldwide reduction of 26%. There were some exceptions though – the least developed countries, where the percentage of mid-age deaths increased from 34% in 1950 – 1955, to 40% in 2005 – 2010.

 

The percentage of old-age deaths differs considerably from the countries with the highest percentage, to those with the lowest percentage: The three highest were Italy (86%), Sweden (86%) and Greece (85%). The three lowest were the Democratic Republic of the Congo (13%), Chad (12%), and Angola (11%). This again would be explained by longevity in the population in countries like Italy, Sweden and Greece.

 

Globally, the percentage of the population aged 60 years or over increased from 8.6% in 1980 to 12% in 2014. This group is projected to continue to rise, reaching 21% in 2050.

Perhaps You’ve Noticed Something About Dad

As you settle into the long Thanksgiving weekend with older family members, it is possible you notice things are different.  Is the house or apartment less tidy?  Perhaps it is not up to their usual standards of cleanliness.  Is their appearance less tidy as well?  Is there a change in behavior or mood?  A change in weight?  Overall, are things looking out of sorts?

These things can be a sign they need more assistance with the everyday tasks of living.  Holidays can be a good time to recognize the changes and start to work toward a plan for getting them the assistance they need.  This week the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers re-posted an article from PRWEB that gives a list of seven signs to look out for.  First published in 2013, the information still applies and can get you thinking, and start a conversation with your loved one to move toward providing them the support they may now need.

 

 

Did You Know? A Few Facts About Being 90+ in the U.S.

A readily observable fact in this 21st century is the growth of our aging population.  Some interesting facts about the 90+ group in the U.S., as reported in “90+ in the United States: 2006-2008” (He and Muencrath, 2011) are:

There are, as of 2010, about 2 million nonagenarians (ages 90 and older) in the U.S.

By the year 2050, there will be 8 million nonagenarians, which will be approximately 10 percent of the 65 and older age group.

For every 100 women in the group, there are just 24 men.

Of men older than 90 years, 43 percent are still married.  Of women older than 90, only six percent remain married.

April is National Poetry Month – Poems on Aging

April is National Poetry Month, and while I don’t make a habit of following all the “National Day of…” months, this one caught my eye, and so I did a little searching, and lo and behold, there are plenty of poems about aging.  A few of them I recognize.  And there are many more that are less known, but definitely worth a look.

This is one of my favorites:

When You are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many  loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur,  a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

 

Recognize it?  Written by W. B. Yeats, the well-known poet of the 19th and 20th centuries, some say it paints aging in a morose light.  Perhaps.

For me, the lyrical quality is what I find so appealing.  It makes me want to read it over and over.  And in reading it I begin to see the beauty and the hope that love is out in those stars, waiting.

There are many more poems about aging on the website poets.org, and it is a real treat to slow down and peruse them.  I’ve done so more than once since I discovered the site.  Have a look, and let us know if you have one you want to share.

Enjoy!