Aging is a universal phenomenon that every individual has a certain possibility to experience it once in their life provided that they reach the specific age where someone is considered to be senior citizen. Accordingly, every society has a specific portion of it that is comprised of senior citizens and the size of that division is expected to increase at some point in the future. However though the aging aspect has a certainty nature for every society, some views regarding this matter is still contradictory and problematic for certain groups of population.
Most of the concerns and problems involving aging is directly related or attributed to the aspect of health care utilization and provision in the society. For some groups of population or social minorities, the aspect of aging is enticed with problems involving economic matters, health-related issues and social contexts. Every society has different connotations and viewpoint regarding the aspect of aging and the enticed health care utilization with it and these differences are mainly the roots of the distinctive complications concerning the said topic. These social classes are mainly the African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and the collective class of women.
African American and Hispanics
For many populations who are rooted with the African Americans and Hispanics, most of the problems in their social class are attributed to the biological nature of their ancestry. Many scientific researches have determined that African Americans life expectancy is generally lower than any other race and this rate still continuously lower over passing generations. Conducted researches have concluded that the average life expectancy for African Americans is 70.2 years compared to an average of 76.5 years for all population groups. In addition, life expectancy for African American men is 66.1 years compared to the national average of 73.6 years for all men (Michigan Canter for Urban African American Aging Research, 2006).
Another health factor directly attributed to the aging aspect is the number of diagnosed cancer cases for the African American societies. Medical research has concluded that cases of diagnosed cancer for African American societies are 21% higher on both men and women compare to other societies. Death attributed to cancer annually is 30 % and 16% higher for men and women respectively compare to other societies. Aside from these factors, other medical condition such as heart diseases, hypertension-related complications are also age-related problems for the African American societies (MCUAAAR, 2006).
For the Hispanics societies, most of their problems that are attributed to aging are rooted in their social as well as biological nature. For their biological aspect, some researches found out that Hispanics are people who are more likely to have age-related complications such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer. In addition, like the African American society, cases of Alzheimer’s disease for these specific societies are greater compared to other social groups thus aging for them are a matter of health complications (Garcia, 2006).
In addition, social issues such as elderly support from their families and relatives are also one of the main complications attributed to aging for the Hispanic societies. Conducted social surveys have expressed significant numbers of Hispanic elderly that are residing in nursing and elderly institutions instead of staying with their families (Garcia, 2006).
Asian American Elders and Native Americans
Elderly of the Asian American societies are commonly faced with social problems in their aspect of aging. Mostly, these problems are rooted in the social complications involving their society with the rest of the population. Often, Asian American especially their senior citizens are regarded as the “silent minority” or the “invisible minority” thus they often experienced certain discrimination stumbling down their access to health care institutions. This social problem is mainly attributed to the cultural nature of the Asian American society such as their difficulty with speaking the general English language, their distrust regarding the social service programs, lack of awareness about health care utilization and their cultural belief concerning the responsibility towards elderly care giving (Joo and Price, 2006).
For Native Americans societies, same problems such as that of the Asian Americans post certain age-related complications for them. Different social perception and perspectives toward their societies and economic issues affect much of their health care utilization thus posing certain problems involving their senior citizen’s heath conditions (Bosworth & Burtless, 1998).
Aging women are more likely to experienced depression compare to men and this issue is greatly attributed to psychological, physiological and sociological perspective concerning womanhood. Some of these problems are attributed to the physiological nature of women involving health conditions such as hormonal changes and health complications such as chances of breast and ovarian cancer (Morgan & Kunkel, pp107-130). Other causes of depression for women during the aging state are attributed to sociological and psychological perspectives such as aesthetic and beauty issues, which are commonly in the state of deterioration for women at old age (Morgan & Kunkel, pp143-150).
Aging is a natural condition and all of the population is expected to reach that state regardless of social class and status. But still, all of the population have contributed at some point to the development of society thus they should not be neglected and their needs as senior citizens must still be adequately address by the present and young society. Regardless of social roots and class, whether they are Native American or African American or Hispanic or Asian, they still have rights to access and utilize the heath care system that are being provided by the social institutions and their respective governments at the present. In addition, the heath care service of the present must also be sufficient develop to properly address the specific and certain needs these different social minorities and the others need to enjoy a favorable and healthy old age.
Bosworth, Barry & Burtless, Gary (1998). Population Aging and American Economic Performance. Aging Societies: The Global Dimension. Brookings Institutions Press. Massachusetts, Washington. Chapter 6, pp 267-310.
Garcia, Alejandro (2006). Elderly Hispanics and the 2005 White House Conference on Aging. National Hispanic Council on Aging. http://www.nhcoa.org/site/nhcoa/content.php?type=1&id=12462. November 14, 2006.
Joo, Eunjee & Price, Christine (2006). Asian American Older Adults. The Ohio Department of Aging: Senior Series. The Ohio State University Extension. http://ohioline.osu.edu/ss-fact/pdf/0194.pdf. November 14, 2006.
Michigan Canter for Urban African American Aging Research (2006). The Healthier Blacks Elders Center. Wayne State University. http://mcuaaar.iog.wayne.edu/healthier.php. November 14, 2006.
Morgan, Leslie A. & Kunkel, Suzanne (2001). Dimensions of Aging. Aging: The Social Context. Pine Forge Press. Sage Publications Company. Teller Road, California. Chapter III, pp 107-208. ISBN. 0-7619-8731-2.