The problem of caring for the chronically ill patient is intimately associated with the care of the aged and aging. Chronic invalidism in 80 per cent of the cases occurs after the age of 35, whereas it occurs in only 5 per cent before the age of 14. We are rapidly becoming a nation of elders. The aging of the population has far reaching significance not only medically but interlacing with all spheres of man's life and the social structure.
In 1900, 17 per cent of the total population of the United States were 45 years old or more. In 1940, 26.5 per cent exceeded 45 years of age. Conservative estimation by the U. S. Census Bureau, assuming that there will not be new immigration, predicts that in another forty years the structure of our population will be further changed. In a study made by the Committee on Economic Security,
KRETSCHMER HL. THE PROBLEM OF THE CHRONICALLY ILL PATIENT. JAMA. 1945;127(16):1025–1027. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860160001001
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