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December 4, 1996

The Aging Global Population: A Call for Papers

JAMA. 1996;276(21):1758. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540210066037

We meet the aging process with ambivalence. While our Success as a society is quantified by increasing life expectancy, how we care for isolated and impaired elders is not measured. Ads that promote youth and vigor target retirees with disposable income. The successful aging idealized by geriatricians will elude most of their patients. Even as the preservation of Medicare assumed center stage in the US election year, how it will be paid for in the next decade remains uncertain.

The increasing numbers and proportion of older people in the population, a result of declining fertility rates and more people surviving into old age, has become a symbol of improved health and economic status. This trend is occurring throughout the developed nations, such that 20% of the US population1 and 27% of the Japanese population2 are expected to be aged 65 years or older by 2025. Similar trends exist