Human Psychology - Old Age Psychology

Worldwide, the number of people 65 or older is increasing faster than ever before. Most of this increase is occurring in developing countries. In the United States the percentage of people 65 or older increased from 4 percent in 1900 to about 13 percent in the late 1990s. In 1900, only about 3 million of the nation's people had reached 65. By 1998, the number of senior citizens had increased to about 34 million. Population experts estimate that more than 50 million Americans--about 17 percent of the population--will be 65 or older in 2020. The number of elderly people is growing around the world chiefly because more children reach adulthood. In most parts of the world, women live, on average, longer than men. In the United States in the late 1990s, life expectancy at birth was 80 years for women and 73 years for men. American women who were age 65 in the late 1990s could expect to live about 19 additional years. Men who were 65 could expect to live about 16 additional years.

In Western societies, everybody declared to be "old" when they reach the ages of 65-70, and secure their pension entitlement. Some governments offer old age pensions, and redeemable retirement savings plans. Retirement is a typical lifestyle embraced by advanced adults, marking the end of a lifetime of work.

In the late 20th century and early 21st century, advances in nutrition and health care have extended the period of good health as well as extending the overall life expectancy.

Pensions provision relied upon life expectancy at retirement being short: This change has led to the pensions crisis. Some believe there to be prejudice against older people in Western cultures, referred to as ageism.

The increase of senior citizens around the world (especially in more economically developed countries) could soon be considered as a problem. The fact is, with the number of elderly people increasing, there will be a greater need for people to care for them. This costs money, and its coming from the taxes we all pay. If the amount of senior citizens keeps increasing at the going rate, there is a high chance that taxes will increase so we can support them” reports a government official who did not want to give his name.