Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

June 24, 2004

Aging: What the Future Holds

Since 1900, average life expectancy in the United States has risen from 47.3 years to the current 77.4 years, based on figures released in March by the federal government.

Advances in medicine over the past 50 years include virtual eradication of certain diseases such as polio and smallpox, the evolution of viable organ transplantation and, more recently, the burgeoning field of stem cell research.

Americans are living longer – and healthier – lives. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the aging population – 77 million Baby Boomers will reach Social Security eligibility age beginning in 2014 – already has strained the U.S. health care system fiscally and introduced new and complicated medical, ethical and legal issues such as advance-care planning and end-of-life decisions, to mention only two.

Pitt has a number of organizations dedicated to serving the growing elderly population including the Institute on Aging and the Institute to Enhance Palliative Care that bring together experts from a wide variety of disciplines: physicians, psychologists, nurse practitioners, social workers, lawyers and others.

This is the first of a series looking at “Aging, what’s next?” featuring a sampling of ongoing aging-related advances and drawing on some Pitt experts’ opinions on what might be on the horizon for health care, palliative care and gerontology.

Leave a Reply