Over 33 million Americans are at least 65. Women represent about 55% of the 65-69 age group and 72% of those 85 and older. Both society and the church are just beginning to deal with the social, economic, and spiritual implications of an aging population.
The growing numbers of older Americans prompted the U.S. bishops to write Blessings of Age: A Pastoral Message on Growing Older Within the Faith Community. The statement affirms and challenges older persons and recognizes that interdependence, not independence, is the true gospel value. It also encourages all church members to see older persons as active participants who continue to contribute to the life of the church.