The History of Senior Care
Early thoughts on aging and care date back to 44 BC
By the year 2030, one-fifth of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65. Many seniors will seek long-term living solutions outside their home. Care for seniors isn't a new concern, however. In fact, early thoughts on aging and care date back to 44 BC.
Cicero writes text about aging, "On Old Age".
An Arabic text, the "Canon of Medicine" is the earliest known text describing medical care for the aging and elderly.
Aging and the elderly are held in widely different regard, from "evil" during the Dark Ages to revered during the Age of Enlightenment.
One of the earliest organizations designed specifically to care for the elderly, "Friends' Almhouse of Philadelphia" is founded.
Religious groups, in reaction to awful conditions in "poorhouses" and "workhouses," open nonprofit homes for seniors, many of which still exist today.
The "Indigent Widows and Single Women's Society" is established to care for a growing population of poor and elderly women who had lost their husbands.
An early guide to aging, "On the Decline of Life," is published by Barnard Van Oren.
Civil War pensions become the first major pension program in the U.S. and cares for Union war veterans disabled in service, their widows and their dependents.
Aging is first recognized as a social issue, separate from sickness, with poverty among the elderly population a specific concern.
The Social Security Act is passed in response to The Great Depression, which resulted in half the senior population living in poverty. It is the first universal federal welfare program for the elderly.
The rise of the private nursing home industry begins this year and doubles to more than 500,000 by 1965.
In 16 years, the number of nursing home beds available increases by 302 percent.
Medicare and Medicaid are signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.
The Moss Amendments bring government regulation to the nursing home industry and prompts the rise of national nursing home chains.
The first hospice organization in the U.S. is founded in Connecticut to address end of life care.
The first nationally-recognized assisted living organization is founded and focused on privacy and independence for its residents.
The "Retirement Wave" begins, with the first Baby Boomers turning 65. Between 2011 and 2030, 79 million Baby Boomers will retire, or about 10,000 people per day.
Senior Care Trends Today
- 29 million Americans, or 9 percent of the population, care for someone over the age of 74.
- The number of seniors caring for seniors is increasing as younger seniors who are retired and still healthy care for older seniors.
- Age in Place: Some organizations, like Generations Senior Living, provide residents the opportunity to remain in assisted living communities as they age, and adapt to residents' ongoing needs and abilities.