The median age of the world’s population is increasing almost exponentially. In the United States, the population aged 65 years and older is projected to more than double, from 46 million in 2016 to over 98 million by 2060, representing 14.9% and nearly 25% of the total population, respectively. In addition, the number of persons aged 85 years and older is expected to triple, from 6.2 million in 2014 to 19.7 million in 2060. Worldwide, over the same period, the population aged 65 years and older is projected to increase by approximately 617 million, up to 1.6 billion, from 8.5% to 16.7%. In the next 15 years, the number of older persons is expected to grow fastest in Latin America and the Caribbean with a projected 71% increase, followed by Asia at 66%, Africa at 64%, Oceania at 47%, and Europe at 23%.
This expanding older population presents a growing challenge to primary care physicians and medical subspecialists in the United States and Western Europe. The subspecialty of geriatrics emphasizes a different medical paradigm of functional assessment and a more holistic approach to patient care compared with the traditional medical paradigm.
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 1 - Update on General Medicine. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.