Ethical Issues with an Aging Population

EthicalIssues with an Aging Population

EthicalIssues with an Aging Population

Theethical issues that United States and other nations must address whenfaced with the health care challenges of an aging population includescarcity of providers, lack of resources, cultural barriers,financial barriers, and biases. However, cultural biases stand outamong the four issues (Centresfor Disease Control and Prevention, 2003).Nurses can examine these biases and accommodate them in their dailypractises.

Inthe future, there is likelihood that the number of old people willoutnumber the number of young people. This means there will be fewerpotential workers retiree. Then, if we fail to adopt policies to thischanging reality of an older population, then, the fiscal burden onthe taxpayers and individual workers will increase (Calman,1994).In addition, there will be an increase in personal financial burden,as people will spend many years in retirement. Correspondingly, theywill still require personal care and other services.

Ifpolicies are not adjusted in accordance with the changing reality ofan older population, there will be a significant rise in age-relatedpublic expenditure. In addition, the government will struggle tomaintain their pension and health care budgets. This is because,according to the current policies, the government has the mandate torake care of the old people. Therefore, if it continues to commititself to this responsibility, they might not be able to fulfil thepolicy fully.

Accordingto McMorrowand Roeger (1999),medical resources are scarce. However, in allocating the scarceresources for the aging population and end-life-care, there is a needto weigh the cost-benefit ratio. That is, to weigh the patient desirefor treatment and the benefits of treatment, or whether the treatmentwill offer any health benefit. Therefore, there is great need forgovernment to reconsider these policies hence, redefine them again.


Bloom,D., Canning, D., &amp Sevilla, J. (2003).&nbspThedemographic dividend: A new perspective on the economic consequencesof population change.Rand Corporation.

Calman,K. C. (1994). The ethics of allocation of scarce health careresources: a view from the centre.&nbspJournalof Medical Ethics,&nbsp20(2),71-74.

Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. (2003). Trends inaging–United States and worldwide.&nbspMMWR.Morbidity and mortality weekly report,52(6),101.

McMorrow,K., &amp Roeger, W. (1999). The economic consequences of ageingpopulations.&nbspEconomicPapers,&nbsp138.