Facts About Older Adults and Senior Care

Approximately 10,000 baby boomers celebrate their 65th birthday each day.

Seniors represent 15.6% of the US population, about 1 in 6 Americans.

93% of older adults live within 5 miles of a pharmacy.

Nearly 70% of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than 50% take two.

The “baby boomer” population began in 1946, which means the “tip of the spear” just began turning 70 years old in 2016. As these baby boomers age, they will develop more comorbidities and health issues, and their impact on the system and their consumption of medications and health care services will skyrocket, so, this is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Consider this:

  • Today there are over 50.8 million adults aged 65 and older in the United States; by 2060, that number is expected to double to 98 million.
  • Starting in 2011 and continuing until 2030, approximately 10,000 baby boomers will celebrate their 65th birthday each day.
  • Older adults represent 15.6% of the United States population, about 1 in 6 Americans.
  • Nearly 92% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 81% have at least two.
  • Some type of disability (e.g. difficulty in hearing, vision, cognition, ambulation, self-care, or independent living) was reported by 25% of those aged 65-74, and 48.7% of those 75 and older in 2017.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has a useful tool - The Healthy Aging Data Portal - in which users can enter search categories and regions of interest in the US and Territories to find current healthy aging data for that area.

"Medications are probably the single most important health care technology in preventing illness, disability, and death in the geriatric population."

Brahma, Wahlang, Marak, Sangama. "Adverse Drug Reactions in the Elderly”: Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, Apr-Jun 2013.

Senior Care Pharmacists

These statistics point to a critical fact: For millions of older adults and individuals with chronic illnesses, consultant and senior care pharmacists play a vital role in ensuring optimal drug therapy. In their role as medication therapy experts, consultant and senior care pharmacists take responsibility for their patients’ medication-related needs; ensure that their patients’ medications are the most appropriate, the most effective, the safest possible, and are used correctly; and identify, resolve, and prevent medication-related problems that may interfere with the goals of therapy and progress toward a more independent life.

Consultant and senior care pharmacists manage and improve drug therapy and improve the quality of life of older adults and other individuals residing in a variety of environments, including hospitals, sub-acute care, nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities, psychiatric hospitals, hospice, or at home.

ASCP supports consultant and senior care pharmacy practice and practitioners through the development of standards, guidelines, and policies relevant to geriatric pharmacotherapy and senior care pharmacy. Your membership in ASCP supports a strong, unified voice in shaping legislation, regulation, and health care policy. It works to foster and create a favorable professional and business environment for consultant and senior care pharmacists. And by encouraging productive and collaborative relationships with other professional organizations, provider groups, and political and lay organizations concerned with the health care of older persons, ASCP maintains a potent national voice for our members and the patients they serve.

Senior Care Pharmacy

When appropriately prescribed and dosed, medications are arguably the single most important factor in improving the quality of life for older Americans. Our older adults are especially at risk for medication-related problems due to physiological changes of aging, higher incidence of multiple chronic diseases and conditions, and greater consumption of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

The economic impact of medication-related problems in persons over the age of 65 now rivals that of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Medication-related problems are estimated to be one of the top five causes of death in that age group, and a major cause of confusion, depression, falls, disability, and loss of independence.

"As medication use and the incidence of adverse drug outcomes increase with advancing age, it is important to ensure quality use of medicines in older people towards attaining a higher goal of healthy and active aging.

Brahma, Wahlang, Marak,Sangama. "Adverse Drug Reactions in the Elderly”: Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, Apr-Jun 2013.

US Census 2017 ACS Age Estimates
Buttorff T, Ruder T, Bauman M. Multiple chronic conditions in the United States. RAND. Santa Monica, CA; 2017. Accessed October 23, 2018.
-o www.fightchronicdisease.org/sites/default/files/TL221_final.pdf
Nearly 7 in 10 Americans Take Prescription Drugs, Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center Find. Accessed January 2015.

National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS). 2011–2012 chain pharmacy industry profile. Alexandria, VA. 2011.

Pew Research Center. Baby boomers retire. Published December 29, 2010. Accessed June 17, 2015.

- http://pewresearch.org/databank/dailynumber/?NumberID=1150

He W, Sengupta M, Velkoff VA, DeBarros KA. Current population reports: 65+ in the United States: 2005. Washington, DC: US Census Bureau; 2005. Accessed June 17, 2015.
- http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p23-209.pdf

Administration on Aging
- http://www.aoa.acl.gov/Aging_Statistics/Profile/index.aspx
- http://www.aoa.acl.gov/Aging_Statistics/Profile/2015/docs/2015-Profile.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The State of Aging and Health in America 2013. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services; 2013.
- http://www.cdc.gov/aging/agingdata/index.html

National Council on Aging, 2014.
- https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/healthy-aging-facts/

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