Senior Health Care is Becoming an Industry


More and more people, especially in developed countries, are becoming older. In the United States there are currently over 40 million people aged 65 and over, more than 10 million are over 85. Caring for these senior citizens is becoming a necessity - and a big industry.

Traditionally care for the elderly has taken place in an extended family. Grandparents live at home and are helped by other family members.  However, as more and more young people enter the work force full time they cannot care for their parents or grandparents any more.

There are more than 10,000 organizations that provide care for the elderly; more than 1,000 were founded last year alone. Ordinary people quit their jobs and start a private care centre, where they offer senior citizens their services.

One of the most difficult aspects of such an organization is finding the right people to do the job. Caring for the elderly is not an easy task. It requires skill and patience. Among daily tasks are preparing meals, washing older people or giving them a bath, or simply keeping them company. Many care workers quit because they find it very depressing.

It is important to help the elderly stay mobile as long as possible. When they cannot walk or climb stairs they need more help; thus costs become higher. Care workers concentrate on exercises to help them stay mobile.

In many cases assisted living replaces round the clock health care. Elderly people need help with some daily tasks but can mostly live on their own. It also costs less than full nursing care.


While wealthy Americans turn to private care centres, those who are poorer cannot pay for the services because Medicare does not cover it.

Not all countries offer health care provided by the state. In Asia and Africa, for example, older people are cared for by family members.



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  • assisted living = a situation in which  someone can live alone but needs others to help with certain tasks
  • care centre = place where older people are cared for
  • care for = look after
  • concentrate on = focus on
  • cover = here: pay for
  • currently = right now
  • depressing = sad
  • developed countries = industrialized countries in North America, Europe, as well as Japan and Australia
  • elderly = older people
  • especially = above all
  • extended family = family in which two or more generations live in the same house
  • found – founded = start something new
  • however = but
  • keep a person company = be with someone and talk to them; make sure that they are not lonely
  • Medicare = a system by which the US government helps to pay for the medical treatment of older people
  • mobile = to be able to move around
  • necessity =very important; much needed
  • ordinary = normal
  • patience = to be able to wait and do something  without getting angry about it
  • provide = offer, give
  • replace = exchange for
  • require = need
  • senior citizens = old people, mostly over 65
  • services = here: help
  • skill = being able to do a certain job really well
  • task = job
  • thus = therefore
  • traditionally = usually, for a long time in the past
  • wealthy = rich
  • work force = go to work; have a full time job