There is an ongoing and unprecedented worldwide demographic transformation—the
aging of the world's peoples. In the United States, the proportion of adults
85 years or older is growing so rapidly that in a few decades, 1 in 4 persons
older than 65 years will be among the oldest old.1
At the same time, the aged are becoming more ethnically diverse. Whether future
cohorts of older persons will exhibit less disability than the current cohort
can be debated, but there can be little doubt that global aging carries profound
implications for social, economic, and health policy.
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