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August 20, 1982

The Hospitalized Elderly

Author Affiliations

College of Medicine University of California, Irvine

JAMA. 1982;248(7):874. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330070062035

The White House Conference on Aging of 1981 has awakened much of the American public to the importance of the elderly as a political constituency. The marked rise in our country in the percentage of people 65 years or older from 4% in 1900 to 1196 today1 reflects in part a reason for this awakening. Concomitant with this rise in the population of the elderly is the anticipation that federal expenditures for this group will increase from 25% of the federal budget for 1981 to above 3296 by the year 2000.

With these major demographic and economic changes, community services—including health care—must be vigorously reassessed to meet more effectively the needs—and demands—of this politically powerful segment of our society.

This population of people older than 65 years contributes to 2396 of hospital discharges and 3596 of total hospital days and experiences 5096 longer stays in hospital.2

In this