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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.

44 BC

Cicero writes text about aging, "On Old Age".

1025

An Arabic text, the "Canon of Medicine" is the earliest known text describing medical care for the aging and elderly.

1100s-1700s

Aging and the elderly are held in widely different regard, from "evil" during the Dark Ages to revered during the Age of Enlightenment.

1713

One of the earliest organizations designed specifically to care for the elderly, "Friends' Almhouse of Philadelphia" is founded.

Mid-1800s

Religious groups, in reaction to awful conditions in "poorhouses" and "workhouses," open nonprofit homes for seniors, many of which still exist today.

1817

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.

1853

An early guide to aging, "On the Decline of Life," is published by Barnard Van Oren.

1862

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.

1909

Aging is first recognized as a social issue, separate from sickness, with poverty among the elderly population a specific concern.

1935

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.

1950

The rise of the private nursing home industry begins this year and doubles to more than 500,000 by 1965.

1960-1976

In 16 years, the number of nursing home beds available increases by 302 percent.

1965

Medicare and Medicaid are signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.

1968

The Moss Amendments bring government regulation to the nursing home industry and prompts the rise of national nursing home chains.

1974

The first hospice organization in the U.S. is founded in Connecticut to address end of life care.

1981

The first nationally-recognized assisted living organization is founded and focused on privacy and independence for its residents.

2011

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

So where do I start?

Now more than ever, seniors have choices in living options, and these options include supported living at home, independent living, assisted living communities, skilled nursing and hospice care services. With so many options in senior care, it can be difficult to know where to start.

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