Why Social Sustainability is Important in Aging Populations

Social sustainability is vital in aging populations as it ensures that older adults can access essential services like health and social support, fostering an inclusive society where they can live with dignity and participate actively.

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Why Social Sustainability is Important in Aging Populations
5 Min Read December 18th, 2023

Having one aging person in your home entails making adjustments to that household. Whether improving the floor plan or changing processes, that place is reimagined to accommodate that person. Social sustainability runs on the same principles on a global scale.

What is social sustainability? It extends beyond environmental concerns to encompass social well-being. Social sustainability, a key component of comprehensive sustainability, focuses on the capacity of current and future generations to satisfy their social and cultural needs and lead fulfilling lives in a fair and equitable society.

This concept probes whether we can establish a world where everyone has the chance to prosper, engage meaningfully in society, and enjoy a high quality of life, now and in the future. It covers areas like access to education and health care, fair work conditions, social inclusion, cultural diversity, and human rights protection. Attaining social sustainability involves:

  • Tackling inequalities.
  • Advocating for social justice.
  • Building robust communities where all members feel valued and capable.

Understanding the deep interconnection between social, environmental, and economic sustainability is crucial. Environmental damage often disproportionately affects disadvantaged groups, impeding their development. Likewise, financial practices that foster disparity or restrict access to essentials can jeopardize social well-being. Thus, true long-term sustainability demands a holistic approach that acknowledges the interplay among social, environmental, and economic factors.

Striving for Social Sustainability for the Aged

Social sustainability is a call for businesses to recognize their impact on society. They can influence the state of their workers, the local community around them, and the environment where they operate. So much is on the line in whatever they do.

To be socially sustainable is to create a world that focuses on equality for all. This usually includes empowering women, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized people. But one group that is often overlooked when it comes to social sustainability is the aging population.

The world is projected to have two billion people aged 60 years or older between 2015 and 2050. While there is variation in what their physical and mental health will be in 20 years or so, the reality is that their well-being will decline.

The most common complication that aging causes is heart complications. The cardiovascular system must work double-time to continue pumping blood. This is because the blood vessels and arteries stiffen over time. Aging can also compromise a person's cognitive health, making them forgetful.

The Ideal Society for an Aging Population

A socially sustainable society is incredibly diverse and accommodating to all. There are many considerations to make when caring for older residents in your area. This outline will highlight what you need to prepare for.

Accessing Health Care

Time always catches up one way or another. An aging population is more prone to different illnesses as their bodily functions start to slow. When a person can no longer care for themselves, it's essential to monitor them.

Social sustainability in the health care sector is utilizing technology and making it accessible. For instance, wearable heart monitors check up on a senior's heart health. That insight into their physical health can be utilized for treatment.

Currently, there are limited resources, and health care is quite expensive. Three days will cost around $30,000 or more if you have to stay in the hospital. 

Long-term care is also costly. The cost of long-term care services is exploding nationwide, and they are not covered by health insurance or Medicare. However, Medicaid and Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for long-term care services. Medicaid requires the care recipient to have little or no income or assets, and Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for long-term care.

People in power must assess how to resolve this challenge.

Practicing Sustainable Wellness

Sustainable well-being is often a talking point during adulthood when the future is far away, but it doesn't really end there. If anything, it's even more critical to support this part of your health as you grow older.

Many people may only dream of learning about new skills and connecting with nature as they enter their late 60s. However, social sustainability can make that vision a reality, ensuring people can still thrive as they age.

Other sustainable wellness practices to integrate include a mindfulness yoga session. Seniors who engage in this practice once a week over six months can improve their quality of life in the long run. It lets you listen to your body and mind, keeping you more attuned to 

Creating Livable Communities

Social sustainability focuses on making places safer and more accessible for people. While planning for those groups, it's also essential to see how older adults can fit into that environment. The WHO Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities envisions a world where an aging population can still thrive.

Here are some aspects that make communities livable for older residents:

  • Surroundings: Imagine outdoor spaces and accessible transport as you step outdoors. In spite of climate change, social sustainability must strive for a habitable environment while keeping the planet pristine.
  • Connections: Growing older can spark reclusiveness and social exclusion. Aging populations are often left out of community creation. But a socially sustainable society should have groups that open its doors to everyone, regardless of age.
  • Housing: The number of homeowners who are 65 and older can grow from 34 to 48 million in the next two decades, with a majority looking to age in place. Having attainable housing choices must also be a priority in a livable community.

Maintaining Economic Stability

The aging population is comprised of retirees who may not be able to provide labor to society anymore. A smaller workforce entails a variety of economic repercussions. These are set to affect businesses the most, especially in countries that have an older population.

In the U.S., the current course of action is changing the Full Retirement Age. Those born in 1955 must be 66 years old and two months before they're eligible for retirement benefits from Social Security. 

The age of eligibility is gradually increased to 67 years old for those born in 1960 or later. By moving the Full Retirement Age, more workers stay employed. It's essential to expand these plans to maintain economic stability as the aging population increases.

Create a Better Future for Everyone

Social sustainability plays a significant role in how aging populations will live and thrive in the future. Businesses must focus on preparation rather than waiting for further issues and turning to solutions.

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About the Author

Beth Rush writes about various health and wellness topics, helping readers learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices and better enjoy their lives.

LTC News Contributor Beth Rush

Beth Rush

Contributor since August 9th, 2023

Editor's Note

As people age, factors such as chronic illnesses, accidents, mobility issues, bodily changes, frailty, and dementia significantly raise the likelihood of needing long-term care. Chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis demand continual management and may lead to complications that hinder daily activities. Older adults are more prone to accidents, like falls, due to reduced balance and bone strength, leading to injuries that require extended care. Conditions like osteoporosis or stroke can cause mobility issues, severely limiting the ability to perform daily tasks independently.

Age-related changes in the body, including decreased muscle mass and bone density, often result in increased frailty, necessitating more assistance with daily activities. Cognitive impairments such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease severely impact self-care abilities, with memory loss and confusion often necessitating long-term, specialized care and supervision. These factors collectively contribute to the growing need for long-term care among older adults.

However, many things cause long-term care, and you don't have to be older to require care. No matter when you need care, the impact on your family and finances can be life-changing and create tremendous burdens for those you love.

Most people add LTC Insurance to their comprehensive retirement plan in their 40s and 50s to take advantage of lower premiums and better health. However, if you have relatively good health, you can find affordable options in your 60s and beyond. 

Remember, Long-Term Care Insurance is not just a financial tool but a plan for ensuring quality care and preserving independence, dignity, and family well-being in the face of aging-related challenges.

A Qualified LTC Insurance Specialist Will Help

Seek the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who represents all the top-rated companies to help you navigate the many options. A specialist will match your age, health, and other factors so you get the most coverage at the lowest cost. 

Once an LTC Insurance specialist shows you accurate quotes from all the top insurance companies, you can make a better-informed decision. 

Find the Best Care Possible for Loved Ones

LTC NEWS offers help for you and your family in many ways. The LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory is an excellent resource where you can find the most comprehensive directory of all types of long-term care services no matter where your loved one lives - Long-Term Care Services Directory | Find Care Near You.

If your loved one has an LTC Insurance policy, that will open the door to many quality care options, as one of the first questions most home health agencies and long-term care facilities will ask you is if the care recipient has an LTC policy.

Be sure to use the benefits from a loved one's LTC policy; trying to save them for later is not a good approach since access to quality care immediately improves a person's quality of life.

LTC NEWS has combined efforts with Amada Senior Care, a leading in-home health care agency with locations throughout the country, to help you process a claim from any LTC Insurance policy.

There is no cost or obligation for this service - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

If they don't have an LTC policy, Amada can still help develop a plan of care and provide you with many affordable in-home care options. 

Learn more now - Find Quality In-Home Care.

These four LTC NEWS guides will assist you in trying to find appropriate long-term health care services for a loved one:

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If your group, organization, business, or political committee has news to share, we encourage you to submit a press release to us.

You can submit your press release - newsroom@ltcnews.com 

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