Geriatrics

Alabama’s #10 Health Concern

Alabamians identified the growth of and problems of the elderly as the tenth greatest current health concern in Alabama. Fortunately, it is possible to obtain comprehensive data on the status of the elderly and the growth of the elderly population from death certificate data collected by ADPH’s Center for Health Statistics on Alzheimer’s mortality, data from Medicaid on Alzheimer’s incidence, estimates from the Census Bureau of the aging of the population and elder abuse data from the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

The baby boom generation was the largest in the history of the United States. This population is aging and causing a dramatic increase in the elderly population. This is causing dramatic changes in society and especially the economy. Because so many of these people will be retiring soon, it puts great pressure on the Social Security Retirement System as well as other retirement programs. In addition, older populations have different spending and saving patterns. Elderly people use many more health resources and spend more of their incomes on health care. In addition, older people experience more limitations on their mobility and ability to care for themselves. This will lead to the need for more nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This is especially true for those with Alzheimer’s who need progressively more care as their condition worsens.

Alabama Geriatrics Highlights

Alabama’s elderly population is expected to grow by 82.4 percent between 2010 and 2040, adding 542,061 elderly to the population. Most of these people are already living in the state and are aging into the elderly population. In addition, elderly people from other states are moving into Alabama to take advantage of our subtropical climate.

However, the growth of the elderly population in the United States is even more dramatic than in Alabama, with the elderly population increasing by 98.0 percent. The greatest increase will occur in urban counties. With the growth of the elderly population there will be a greater danger of abuse or neglect of the elderly population. As the population ages, there are more people who suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Alzheimer’s is now the sixth leading cause of death and becoming increasingly important as we enter future years with a larger elderly population. The number of Alzheimer’s patients among Medicare recipients is already at 9.4 percent and is expected to rise as the population ages.

Health Indicators

The following indicators have been selected for use in developing a benchmark or starting point for measuring the current state of and monitoring future changes regarding the elderly population of Alabama:

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Page last updated: August 23, 2018