A recent survey highlights older Americans’ thoughts and concerns about aging, including their own preparedness. The 2015 United States of Aging Survey, conducted by the National Council on Aging, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and United Healthcare, explored thoughts about aging with a sample of 1,000 adults aged 60 and above. The survey also queried 150 medical and senior care professionals.
An estimated 10,000 U.S. baby boomers turn 65 every day. Researchers hope that by understanding individuals’ fears and challenges, the system can better prepare for the influx of greater numbers of seniors into medical and social services.
Here are a few of the more interesting findings from the perspective of baby boomers themselves:
Approximately 86% felt prepared for the process of aging, and 42% felt “very prepared.”
About 40% of older Americans stated they were most worried about maintaining physical health.
More than a third of those surveyed expressed concern about maintaining their memory or their mental health as they age.
Approximately 43% believed they would be able to maintain affordable health care as they aged.
In regard to maintaining good health, over two-thirds indicated that the primary keys were eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and maintaining a positive attitude.
Around 75% of respondents said they plan to continue to live in their current residence for the rest of their lives.
As for professionals, their views varied somewhat:
In general, professionals appeared less certain than aging boomers that quality of life could be maintained into old age. Only 10% of professionals felt that older Americans were “very prepared.”
Around 62% of professionals felt less than confident that older adults could afford health care costs over time.
Only 37% of professionals felt that communities were making sufficient preparations for the needs of aging baby boomers.
The major age-related concerns noted by professionals were protection from financial scams, affordable housing, and memory problems.
It appears that baby boomers have realistic concerns but general optimism about growing older in America. At the same time, we must heed professionals’ concerns about our overall level of preparedness to deal with the needs of older adults within the communities in which they wish to remain.
To find out more about the results of the survey, you can download the report here.