2. Advantages and Disadvantages of an Ageing Population
1. 1 Introduction
2. 2 Advantages of an Ageing Population
1. 2.1 Community contribution
2. 2.2 Lower crime rate
3. 2.3 Familial advantages
3. 3 Disadvantage: Increased economic pressure to sustain older generations 1. 3.1 Decreased participation rates
2. 3.2 Increased dependency rates
3. 3.3 Increased fiscal gap
4. 4 Disadvantage: The Generation Gap and its Implications
5. 5 Disadvantage: Social Issues Associated with an Ageing Population 6. 6 Disadvantage: Immigration and Baby Boomers are Contributing to the Ageing Population 1. 6.1 Immigration
2. 6.2 Baby Boomers
7. 7 Conclusion
There is no doubt that Australia’s population is ageing, therefore it is crucial to investigate what repercussions it will have on the wider community. We seek to determine whether a higher proportion of aged citizens will be beneficial to the Australian community, or a burden in the future. In this section, we will address the advantages and disadvantages of our aging population. By identifying the positive and negatives of the issue, we will then be able to suggest how to solve the problem for the future.
Advantages of an Ageing Population
The ageing population is often stereotyped as a burden and their detrimental impact on the economy is exaggerated causing their significant societal contributions to be overlooked. More precise analysis and research show that having an ageing population is often advantageous in terms of lower health care costs in later years of life and other beneficial contributions to the community. It appears that associating an ageing population with immense medical and social care expenses is a common misconception. The baby boomer generation has been observed to have better health and is more physically active than preceding generations in Australia (Healy 2004). It has been researched that approximately a quarter of all health related expenses in a person’s life are spent on their last year of life (Wanless 2001) and do not tend to increase with age. Furthermore it is more likely that health care expenditure on the last year of life decreases with age, as the elderly cannot physically endure extensive medical procedures (Graham et al. 2003). Nevertheless, the shift of dependent elderly people from hospitals to residential and nursing homes will minimize health care costs as it transfers the expenditure from health care to social care funds. Since social care is increasingly becoming more privatized, elderly people are less likely to financially burden the government (Healy 2004).
The ageing population also makes positive contributions to the community through their services. As the life expectancy has drastically increased in Australia, most of the baby boomers will retire while they are still physically and mentally healthier than preceding generations, and given appropriate incentives will be willing to work and contribute to tax revenue (Healy 2004). In the past women provided much of the volunteer work in the community, compared to today where woman are in the work force in increasing numbers. At this time when the contribution of volunteer workers is becoming increasingly applicable to our community, many health and welfare agencies are seeking to hire from the growing number of retirees. Voluntary services are a measure of social capital and an indication of a healthy civil society. It has been commonly observed that majority of volunteers tend to be elderly (Wilkinson and Bittman 2002). Therefore through volunteer services, the elderly substantially minimizes government expenditure on welfare, aid their families with childcare and find satisfaction in providing various other charitable services. The satisfaction of volunteering is very high and reports have shown this (Cummins et al. 2002b). Volunteering is regarded as one measure of social capital and thus an indicator to a healthy...
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