Older Americans are wealthier and living longer than ever before. So says the National Institute on Aging’s report titled, Older Americans 2008. According to the report, the number of older people in the U.S. living in poverty has gone down, education has increased, and life expectancy has increased.
Americans today are living on average to 84 years old–that’s seven years older than the generation that turned 65 in 1900. Despite this, some problems exist. For instance, obesity has risen significantly in the last 10-15 years. In the 2005-2006 study period, 37 percent of women aged 65 to 74 were obese, and 24 percent of women age 75+ were obese. This is up from the 1988-1994 study period, when 27 percent of women age 65 to 74 and 19 percent of women age 75 and over were obese.
Despite evidence showing exercise to improve and prolong life, older Americans are just not jumping on the bandwagon. Only 25% of people 65 and over are exercising or participating in leisure-time physical activity on a regular basis. No bueno. And no surprise that health care costs rise significantly every year following peoples’ 65th birthday
So some good news and some not so great news about areas that can definitely use improvement. Overall though, I think quality of life is improving for people as they get older, and I think as health and wellness becomes more ingrained into the public consciousness, these numbers will only get better.