Aging in America – Health System Example

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"Aging in America"  is an engrossing example of a paper on social and family issues. Aging is a process through which all the living things should go. There are no living things that are immortal. Even though births can be controlled up to a certain extent, it is impossible to prevent death. Aging is the process that leads a person towards death. The average life period of humans has been increased a lot in recent times because of the huge developments in medical science and technology. Many of the uncontrollable epidemic diseases in the past are controllable or preventable at present.

As a result of that, the number of old people is getting increasing everywhere in the world as time goes on. America is one of the most developed and richest countries in the world. The average life span of Americans is comparatively more than that of the people in other parts of the world. Better healthcare helps Americans to extend their life span further. Aging is becoming a highly debated topic in America at present. Some sociologists in America argue that it is a triumph as well as a tragedy at the same time.

“ For many, life's prolonged second half will be a time to chart a new course. For others, however, this "longevity bonus" will be fraught with pain and suffering. As bodies suffer and minds fail, tens of millions of us could wind up spending our final decades struggling with depressing loneliness and unrelenting pain” (Dychtwald, 2010). It should be noted that lifestyles are changing day by day in America. Morality and ethics are rapidly diminishing subjects in contemporary society.

As a result of that, the younger generation is not taking the look after of older generation seriously.   The younger generation is keen on enjoying their life and they are not much worried about giving a helping hand to the older ones. Thus, many of the aged people in America forced to live in pain, agony, suffering, etc. Thus their extended life span is causing more problems than goods to them. This paper analyses the aging-related problems in America and how social organizations can solve it.     Effect of organizational structure, governance, culture, and social responsibility upon Aging Supply and use of acute services do differ according to definitions and the way in which population aging has occurred; that, regardless of definition, older people in high-aging states make far greater use of post-hospital home health care than in low-aging states; and that, although individual-level clinical factors appear central to rehabilitative decisions, all states seem to use very old age (85-plus) as a proxy to determine who goes where, with low-aging states also affected by structural constraints at the hospital and market levels (Steiner, 2008). Hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies are the major organizations associated with aging-related matters.

Since the majority of the old age people in America doesn’ t enjoy the love and care of their children during their end of life situations, hospitals are the only shelter for them. However, hospitals have certain norms in rehabilitating old people. Most of the American hospitals consider the cases of very old age (85-plus) people seriously. In other words, hospitals do not take much care about the rehabilitation of the people below the age of 85 even if they are in pathetic conditions.

For example, cancer is believed to be a disease related to aging even though the younger generation also develops this disease. The majority of the Americans suffering from cancer are people who already crossed 50. However, American hospitals do not take the responsibility of rehabilitating cancer patients below the age of 85 even if the patients are in pathetic conditions. Aging raises a lot of ethical questions in society. In fact, many aging-related ethical dilemmas are faced by American society at present. For example, how can we blame a person who fails to take care of his father or mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’ s?

It should be noted that the person may have many personal, professional, social and family commitments. Amidst all these commitments, how can he prioritize his commitments?   “ Kantian moral theory views our moral lives in the context of duties, obligations and the right behavior. It claims that we act morally when we perform actions that are right- that are required by the moral law or duty” (Holstein et al. , 2010, p. 6).

It is a fact that early childhood and old age are the periods during which a person needs the support of others. All living things have the habit of looking after the younger ones or weaker ones. In other words, it is the duty of all the people to help or assist the people who are in pathetic conditions. Individuals and society have a lot of responsibility for helping old people. Meeting Death with dignity is the basic right for everyone. Nobody wants to accept death in pathetic conditions. America’ s current social policies and public expenditures on aging focus on old age as a terminal stage.

The problems of old age— frailty and sickness— cost hundreds of billions of dollars. The lion’ s share of the aging budget, both federal and state, is for health and long-term care. Although some publicly supported programs provide activities for senior citizens, the budget for these projects is almost negligible (Fischer and Schaffer, 2012) Governments and public bodies are not much interested in spending too many dollars in non-productive sectors, especially in the current recession period. Expenditure made for the caring and wellbeing of the older generation is often considered as a non-productive expenditure by the public bodies and the government.

So, the older generation failed to get proper care during the evening periods of their life span. The case of rich old people would be better than that of the poor ones. Rich people may get proper care only because of their financial abilities. Commercialization has intruded into every segment of America’ s social life and even hospitals and charity organizations are not free from that. Out-of-pocket costs for healthcare and healthcare insurance premiums take a large bite out of the household incomes of older workers.

50 to 55% of older adults in households with incomes under $40,000 spent 5% or more of their income on out-of-pocket healthcare costs and premiums, and more than one-third spent 10% or more (O'Brien, 2012). Insurance companies in America are not servicing the older generation properly. Since old age is a period in which numerous diseases may occur, health insurance companies are charging higher premiums for granting health insurance protection to the older generation. As a result of that many of the poor and medium-income old people in America are staying away from taking health insurance.

Moreover, health insurance companies are not giving coverage to some of the chronic diseases which may occur during old age. In short, the health insurance system in America is covering the needs of the older generation.   Conclusions/ Recommendations for avoiding aging-related problems in America  The cases of old people should be considered more sympathetically. It should be noted that it is wrong to avoid a generation who worked hard during their better days for building a prosperous America.

People should realize that nobody can stay away from the aging process and everybody should go through it once in their lives. So, any expenditure made on aging-related problems should not be considered as non-productive. Such expenses should be considered as a token of appreciation towards the older generation for their contributions in the past. Hospitals should never put any restrictions upon the rehabilitation of the old people based on age. Irrespective of whether a person is over 85 or not, hospitals should analyze his conditions properly to decide whether he is eligible for rehabilitation or not.

Health insurance companies should consider the cases of the older generation more favorably. They should realize that all business organizations have some kind of social responsibilities. Helping the older generation should be considered as social responsibility by the insurance companies.

References

Dychtwald, K. (2010). The Aging of America: Triumph or Tragedy?. Huffington Post. 06/15/10.

Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ken-dychtwald/the-aging-of-america-triu_b_613223.html

Ethics, Aging, and Society: The Critical Turn [Paperback]

Fischer, L.R. and Schaffer, K.B. (2012). The Future of Old Age. Retrieved from

http://www.energizeinc.com/art/aold.html

Holstein, M.B., Parks, J. & Waymack, M. (2010). Ethics, Aging, and Society: The Critical Turn

O'Brien, S. (2012). Baby Boomers and Healthcare: What Are the Problems, and What Can Be

Done? Retrieved from http://seniorliving.about.com/od/manageyourmoney/a/healthcarecosts.htm

Steiner, A. (2008). Ageing and Society. Retrieved from

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=10745A24A89298F3A890FE457B5D1CE0.journals?fromPage=online&aid=2020976

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