Geriatric demographics

The following demographics gleaned from The Merck Manual of Geriatrics (Merck & Co., Whitehouse Station, NJ) may also help you in developing plans for best practice benchmarking:

• Today, one in eight Americans are 65 and older, a gain of 22% from 1980 to 1990.

• They represent 13% of the population but account for:

— nearly one-third of all health care spending;

— 40% of all doctor visits;

— nearly one-third of all prescription drug sales.

• The leading causes of hospitalization are heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

• More than 25% of total Medicare expenditures for a given year go to enrollees who were in their last year of life.

• In 10 years, the 65- to 85-year-olds will increase by 73% to 57 million.

• In 10 years, when the first of the baby boomers turn 65, one in five Americans will be 65 and older. The 85-plus population will grow 33% to 8 million.

• In 1900, 75% of our population died before the age of 65. Today, 70% die after 65.

• The average person over 65 has multiple chronic conditions, with the most prevalent being:

— arthritis;

— hypertension;

— heart disease;

— hearing loss;

— influenza;

— injuries;

— orthopedic impairment;

— cataracts;

— chronic sinusitis;

— depression;

— cancer;

— diabetes;

— visual impairment;

— urinary incontinence.

• One million or more Americans over the age of 65 live in California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York. States that have geriatric populations from 500,000 to 999,999 are Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Washington.