Pennsylvania’s population is aging rapidly, and it is estimated that by 2030, one in five residents will be age 65 and older.
The issue is important, because as the state’s population ages, the number of adults needing services is expected to increase. In a new policy brief from Penn State’s Pennsylvania Population Network (PPN), co-authors Alexis Santos, assistant professor of human development and family studies and Social Science Research Institute cofounded faculty member, and Raeven Chandler, assistant research professor and director of the PPN, describe the challenges of an aging population and policy implications.
According to Chandler, as people age, they are at increased risk for mobility and cognition challenges. “We need to understand as the rates of these types of disabilities increase among the elderly population, they have important implications for the health and well-being of Pennsylvanians and will impact governmental and non-governmental organizations with planning and policy development.”
Santos points out previously collected data can be used to predict cognitive difficulties and physical challenges in the future and can be used in policy development. “Given the prevalence rates of cognitive and ambulatory difficulties found in our report and how they increase with age, we can predict that the group with the most difficulties will be among Pennsylvanians 85 and older. We should anticipate increased need among this population and develop strategies to address demand for services, care, and support.”
To read more, go to the policy brief here.
The PPN is part of the Population Research Institute at Penn State and was established with funding from a Penn State Strategic Initiative Seed Grant and the Social Science Research Institute.