In 2030, nearly 73 million Americans will be aged 65 years or older. As Americans continue to have fewer children than in the past, the number of older adults will outnumber children. Thus, fewer young adults will be around to support and care for the older adult population. Coupled with COVID-19 pandemic-driven disruptions to the healthcare industry, America’s health and aging care system is unprepared to support its large and growing older adult population. Over time, we will see increased health care scarcity and inequality in the distribution of elder care services, especially with continued healthcare worker shortages and drastic increases in the cost of living. This brief describes health and aging care service gaps for U.S. older adults, including how Medicare limitations lead to high health care costs, and encourages the federal government to shore up Medicare, long-term care services, and the supply of aging care specialists to better support America’s growing older adult population.

Document Type

Issue Brief


Older adults, Medicare, COVID-19, healthcare


COVID-19 | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Gerontology | Public Health | Sociology






The author thanks Alexandra Punch, Alyssa Kirk, and Shannon Monnat for edits on a previous version of this brief.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.