Chronic Care, Health Care Systems and Services Integration

ISBN: 978-0-76231-147-7, eISBN: 978-1-84950-300-6

ISSN: 0275-4959

Publication date: 30 December 2004


Aging is a growing concern in American society, whether one examines the issue in terms of growth of the elderly population, growth in expenses related to this population segment, or a concern about quality of life for people as they grow older. The population of the U.S. has aged throughout the twentieth century. While in 1900, only 4.1% of all Americans were over 65, the figure increased to 12.8% by 2000. The oldest old in the population, those 85 and over, increased even more, from only 590,000 people in 1900 to 3.7 million people in 2000. It is estimated that by 2030, when the baby boomers have become old, more than 20% of the U.S. population will be over 65. Some estimates are that those 85 and over will quadruple in size by 2030. Even given the reality that people are remaining physically healthy and may work longer than in the last generation, it is overwhelmingly clear that one of the major overall policy issues of the next several decades will be how to fund both the social and health services needs of the ever increasing elderly portions of the U.S. population. Nor is this issue of an aging population only a U.S. problem. Most developed countries are already experiencing this issue, and there are some European countries, such as Italy, that are already experiencing a declining population due to birth rates below replacement. When this happens in a country, then the elderly as a proportion of the population increase, and the issues of rising health care costs linked to changing population demographics become important policy issues in that country (Quadagno, 2005).


Jacobs Kronenfeld, J. (2004), "HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS: ISSUES OF CHRONIC CARE AND SYSTEMS INTEGRATION", Jacobs Kronenfeld, J. (Ed.) Chronic Care, Health Care Systems and Services Integration (Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. XIII-XXI.

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