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    Featured article : Seniors: The changing face of demographics

    The word seniors refers to persons over a certain age, however, in many cultures, seniors are age sixty-five and over. This is normally referred to as old age chiefly because it is the age of retirement. There are many other terms used for persons over sixty-five, such as, golden age-r, oldster, baby boomer and retiree. Whatever name they are known by, seniors are valuable contributing members of society.

    To illustrate this point, just take a look at many advertisements today and you will see many are geared towards seniors. The beauty market has recognized the purchasing power of seniors and is marketing some products directly to them. The anti-aging skin care market is now big business as advertisers realize that this vast market was previously untapped.

    Statistics indicate that there will be more Americans aged fifty and over by 2010 than there will be young people under eighteen. Current statistics show seniors as making up 12.1 percent of the American population. The main reason for this increase in seniors is the ever improving life expectancy of the average American. Not surprisingly, the world's aging population in general is also increasing as life expectancy increases as well. The increase in the number of seniors can largely be attributed to improved health care which helps to prolong life. With this increase many new needs are arising, not only among seniors themselves, but society as a whole.

    For seniors, there is the need to keep fit and active, to find suitable housing if it becomes necessary to move, and for others the issue is finding new employment. Society on the other hand has to ensure that proper social services specific to the needs of the elderly are available. This is especially important as seniors have needs particular to their age.

    Health care and access to affordable drugs are important issues to seniors. Related to this is the difficulty most seniors face in getting affordable health insurance. It is a fact of life that as we age we develop health conditions related to aging and for many seniors, treatment is expensive. This places a burden on seniors as well as family members if they are unable to afford necessary drugs. On the other hand, because the population is aging so rapidly, government agencies are hard pressed to keep up with the needs of seniors.

    Seniors are remaining in the workforce longer, many persons keep working long after reaching age sixty-five. This too has an impact on society, as more jobs need to be created to accommodate working seniors. By working longer seniors are ensuring that their experience and knowledge is not lost but passed on to younger members of the workforce.

    No longer do the terms 'seniors' or 'senior citizens' denote feeble old men and women; the seniors of today are generally fit, contributing members of society.


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