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Explain the Geographical Challenges Resulting from a Greying Population

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An aging of population (also known as demographic aging, and population aging) is a summary term for shifts in the age distribution (i.e. age structure) of a population toward older ages. A direct consequence of the ongoing global fertility transition (decline) and of mortality decline at older ages, population aging is expected to be among the most prominent global demographic trends of the 21st century. Population aging is progressing rapidly in many industrialized countries, but those developing countries whose fertility declines began relatively early also are experiencing rapid increases in their proportion of elderly people. This pattern is expected to continue over the next few decades, eventually affecting the entire world. Population aging has many important socio-economic and health consequences, including the increase in the old-age dependency ratio. It presents challenges for public health (concerns over possible bankruptcy of Medicare and related programs) as well as for economic development (shrinking and aging of labor force, possible bankruptcy of social security systems).

As we are aware there are both disadvantages of advantages of a graying population. Firstly the elderly are a strain on the NHS. The percentage of over 65s in the UK is expected to rise by 53% between 2001 and 2031 to over 14m, with little change in the younger population. Therefore, there will be a higher proportion of people (elderly) who require medical attention and care. Furthermore, elderly people are more vulnerable/prone to illness and as a result require hospitalization. However, restrictions have been placed on staffs, which mean that they can only work a set number of hours. This is bad for those who need attention as the NHS will be short on staff and will therefore have to pledge more money on staff, meaning they will have to spend more money, punishing the economy of money and meaning younger generations will have to pay more in the way of tax in order to cover the and fund the money spent by the NHS. This will therefore mean more people will earn less money, will have less disposable income and for those who are bordering poor, they will find it harder to live of their earnings, meaning stress levels will increase and many people’s standard of living and quality of life will decrease.

As the elderly population didn’t expect to live for so long, they didn’t save up for their retirement. Therefore they require more money from the state in the way of benefits in addition to their basic state pension. Also, more over sixty-fives are working which applies a strain on the ratio between the working population and available jobs, therefore increasing unemployment. This is why the younger generation of the present day are finding it hard to become employed because the retirement age has increased, meaning the elderly are working for longer periods of time, meaning there are less vacancies for younger people. This therefore means people are out of work, and aren’t earning a sufficient income.

Additionally, there is more of a strain on public transport, as the top heavy population are unable drive; therefore it is a necessity that there is enough public transport to cater for the elderly needs. Therefore there is a greater demand, meaning employees who work in public transport will have to work longer hours, therefore undertaking more shifts. Also, the increase in transport will result in a greater amount of carbon emissions, which in the long term will increase the greenhouse effect, affecting the ozone layer and will alter solar input/output and how much is absorbed by the earth.

In addition, elderly people require living provision or housing needs. This therefore means that additional housing will have to be built, discarding agriculture and land, destroying resources such as trees and vegetation that that absorb carbon dioxide that makes the atmosphere cleaner and more oxygenated. This additionally means that due to housing needs for elderly, the government has spent money on building care homes to support the elderly. This therefore punishes the economy and means as what was mentioned earlier, the government will raise taxes in order to gain back money spent on the construction of these housing needs. Furthermore, more there will be a declining number of people of working age, as many would have retired and would therefore be living on their pension. Therefore, there will be a shortage of a skilled workforce and a demand for workers to aid the younger generation in their education and learning stages of life. Furthermore, Social Security is in trouble because retirement funds are paid out for many more people because the aging population is living longer, meaning more draws on the fund as compared to people putting money into the fund. Additionally, rising longevity is placing an emotional burden on younger people who act as carer for elders.

Also insurance rates will go up as the insurance companies adjust to an older population. This is as the elderly have more faculties and are more likely to make mistakes. This is as with age, people become less aware of the surroundings and are more hesitant, hence why they are more likely to make mistakes or errors. Therefore, insurance rates increase because of this. Furthermore, the population will live closer together as an aging population means a growing population as more people are born than die (since the oldsters are living longer). More people mean more stress.

Additionally as a result of a greying population, disabled access points will be required to be built, to cater for the elders and disabled needs: examples are, disabled parking, ramps, lifts, handrails, stair lifts, bath hoists, elevators etc. These all cost money and time to install which also comes out of government funds.

However, having a greying population can also create jobs. For instance, the NHS should grow, as more people are needed to care for as they are unable to cater for themselves. In addition, with a growing population, more food and resources are required, meaning people who work in the primary sector, extracting of raw materials will gain more business and there will be a higher demand for food and agricultural goods or produce. Lastly, an aging population creates a skilled workforce as they provide us with experience and knowledge. This is as the elderly are the people who have worked in their chosen occupation for the longest amount of time, hence why they know the most.

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