LEGISLATION / ACTIVISM
We are not “senior citizens” or “golden-agers.” We are the elders, the experienced ones; we are maturing, growing adults responsible for the survival of our society. We are not wrinkled babies, succumbing to trivial, purposeless waste of our years and our time. We are a new breed of old people.—Maggie Kuhn, Maggie Kuhn on Aging: A Dialogue
In other words, let’s not shrink back. Instead, let’s take the power we are due.
The number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060. The group’s share of the total population will rise from 16 percent to 23 percent. Worldwide we are seeing the same exponential rise in the elderly population. Globally, the population aged 65 and over is growing faster than all other age groups. By 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65 (16 percent), up from one in eleven in 2019 (9 percent). That means power in numbers.
Instead of seeing the older population as a drain on resources, we could be creating new models for economics, science, medicine, housing, and social services. Often, we are left to leave our future in the hands of the government and the industries that serve older people with products and services (profit or nonprofit). Shouldn’t we have a say in our future?
This space explores current legislative issues affecting older people and how the world will need to adapt to an aging population. It will also address the elder as activist.