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US Geriatric Population and Its Chronic Diseases

Defining the Community

The specific population for the assessment is the geriatric population (the elderly), which is defined as a population aged sixty-five years and older. However, in some cases, the age cutoff of sixty and older is acceptable for defining the population as geriatric. Within the U.S. community, a geriatric population possesses skills and knowledge gained in their life, which they can pass on to next generations. However, despite the fact that the elderly have lived through various life situations, there is a commonly accepted view that their opinions rarely matter (Johnson, 2015, para. 6). One of the main boundaries associated with a geriatric population is the physical limitation, like, for example, limited movement or impaired hearing. There is no actual limit to the specific neighborhood for the geriatric population since the elderly are present in any neighborhood. Additionally, there are no geographic boundaries that separate the elderly from the rest of the U.S. population because they live in any town or city across the country.

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The assessment of the geriatric population is necessary for understanding the social and physical conditions, to identify any issues that arise in the elderly population, as well as come up with possible solutions for addressing the identified issues. The resources available for geriatric population assessment are vast; they include governmental and non-governmental databases for health facts, statistics, and health programs.



According to the United States Census Bureau (2015), the male elderly population of the U.S. makes up 49.2% while the female makes up 50.8% of the elderly population (par. 1). Therefore, there is no large gap between one sex prevailing over another in terms of quantity. The white elderly population prevails with 73.8% over any other race present in the United States. The majority of the U.S. geriatric population is in a relationship (marital or non-marital) with the rate of 56.3%. Only 8.7% of the elderly hold a civilian veteran status while 87.7% of the population has no disability (United States Census Bureau, 2015, para. 10). To identify other potential issues within the community, it is important to mention that 57.7% of the U.S. elderly are employed, and 74.8% are at or above 150% of the poverty level. The life expectancy for both sexes in the elderly aged sixty-five is 19.3 years; however, the life expectancy for women is higher and constitues 20.5 years while the life expectancy for men at sixty-five is 19.3.

Based on the demographics, the elderly population in the United States does not show any disappointing statistics in terms of social and economic questions. The quality of life is acceptable since the majority of the elderly live in owned households with a spouse or without and have a relatively low rate of disability (12.3%).

Government Agencies Information

The health of the geriatric population in the United States should deserve the most attention in the globalizes society. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2013), heart disease is the main chronic condition that causes death among the U.S. elderly of all races (27.7%) (p. 3). Heart disease is followed by cancer (22.1%), chronic lower respiratory diseases (6.5%), stroke (6.4%), Alzheimer’s disease (4.4%), diabetes (2.8%), and influenza and pneumonia (2.6%) (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013, p. 3). Therefore, it can be concluded that chronic diseases serve as the main causes of mortality in the elderly population, posing a great challenge to the health care system.

It is also important to mention the important work the Administration on Aging does concerning chronic disease self-management education programs for the elderly. Since chronic disease are the major causes of mortality in the elderly, the Administration on Aging (2015) focuses its programs on providing the population with various tools that can be beneficial for managing the chronic conditions, namely heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and others (para. 1). The program includes two goals: increasing the number of the elderly representatives in underserved areas that completed a self-management education course on chronic illness and implementing an innovative approach towards program integration.

Therefore, there is an increased attention given to managing the instances of the U.S. geriatric population suffering from chronic diseases. The assessment has shown that the main challenge remains despite major efforts being put into reducing the lethal consequences caused by chronic diseases in the elderly. Thus, a much more innovative approach is needed to deal with the problem. For example, educational programs for self-management are only effective in cases when individuals are able to care for themselves. Similar programs should also educate caregivers on how to manage chronic diseases to prevent possible complications. Furthermore, there should be an increased support from the government – the Minister of Health should work cooperatively with primary territorial stakeholders to implement the programs for educating the elderly on chronic disease, provide appropriate health care services and social services if needed, offer support, as well as encourage the community to participate in managing and subsequently mitigating the issue (Smith, 2012, p. 56).

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Administration on Aging. (2015). Chronic disease self-management education programs. Web.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). The state of aging and health in America. Web.

Johnson, S. (2015). How can older people play a bigger role in society? Web.

Smith, J. (2012). Chronic disease related to aging and health promotion and disease prevention. Web.

United States Census Bureau. (2015). American community survey 5-year estimates. Web.

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