Running head: AGEING ETHICS 1 EthicalIssues and with an Aging PopulationNameInstitution
According to the ‘International Institute on Ageing’ by 2050about 21% of the world population will be aged 60 years and above(International Institute on Ageing, 2016). The pace at which thepopulation in both developing and developed countries is aging hasstimulated interest in aging ethics. The increasing demand for thehealth care services has brought forth the debate about resourcesallocation between different generations. Different ethical issueshave come about, but not all of them are susceptible to public andjudicial treatment, that calls for a deeper moral commitment andreflection by the governments and individuals. U.S. and other nationsare confronted by various ethical issues, which have to be addressedwhen the countries are faced with health care issues of the agingpopulation.
One issue the U.S. and other nations have to address is autonomousdecision making. Autonomy in the decision making is the central basisof human dignity. The fundamental ethical challenge arises when thereis a need to preserve this dignity at the time in which there is adeclining ability to make an autonomous decision. This decline maynot be as consequence of aging alone, but it may also be caused byother factors related to advancement in age such as intellectual andphysical disability, and other psychological conditions, which leadto depression and social isolation (Fenech, 2003). This brings aboutthe most difficult ethical issue of whether the tenet of maximumautonomy in making health decisions extends to the authorization ofself-destruction. The society and the government have theresponsibility of sustaining the growing older population, and U.S.and other nations have to ensure that elderly are not discriminatedagainst on the basis of their age (Ludwick & Silva, 2003).
Aged people are considered unproductive or less productive comparedto people of middle age. However, given their advanced age, they areconfronted by various health care issues, making it costly for thegovernment and other non-governmental organizations, to cater fortheir health. Ethical issues arise as to whether the governmentshould spend so much money on the people who will ultimately die, orit should allocate the resources to other programs that will help toboost the society as a whole (Corvol et al., 2013). Governments havethe responsibility of taking care of the health of everybody and indoing so they have to ensure they have met the ethical requirement onsustaining every life, including that of the aged generation. Assuch, governments and the society have to ensure that the scarceresources are allocated equitably even to the aged people, eventhough they are not at the productive age.
Even though different nations have different family settings,cultures, and values, there should not be a hindrance for thegovernments to ensure they have ethical guideline. Taking care ofall humanity is a shared responsibility of all human beings, and assuch, governments should enact laws that preserve these moralobligations. This will help to tackle other aging ethical issues suchas the right to die, health care rationing, the physician-assistedsuicide, and advance directives. Even though aging ethical issuesusually transcend national frontiers, government, and the society hasto adopt policies and practices that are congruent with the cultureof the country. As such U.S. and other nations have to address suchissues as resource allocation, autonomous decision making, and healthcare rationing, when faced with the health care challenges of theaged population.
Corvol, A., Moutel, G., Gagnon, D.,Nugue, M., Saint-Jean, O., & Somme, D. (2013). Ethical issues inthe introduction of case management for elderly people. NursingEthics, 20(1),83-95.
Fenech, F. F. (2003). Ethicalissues in ageing. ClinicalMedicine, 3(3),232-234.
International Institute on Ageing.(2016). Ageing care. Retrieved July 12, 2016, fromhttps://www.inia.org.mt/publications
Ludwick, R., & Silva, M.(2003). Ethics Column:" Ethical Challenges in the Care ofElderly Persons. OnlineJournal of Issues in Nursing, 9(1).