Aging Matters | The New Old Age

There's never been a better time to grow old. Americans are living longer and healthier lives than did previous generations. But this long life will bring challenges. In Aging Matters: Overview, NPT will explore the changing face of aging and what our community faces as the baby boomer generation grows the over 65 population to unprecedented numbers. What does it take to keep loved ones in their homes as long as possible? Do we have the housing and transportation to meet their needs? How will the medical system be tested by the increased longevity and the complex needs of seniors? Who will care for those with physical and cognitive limitations? 

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The Experts

The Experts

Statistics Explained

If you are 65 now, you are much less likely to live in poverty than in 1959.

In 1959, 35 percent of people age 65 and over lived below the poverty threshold. By 2010, the proportion of the older population living in poverty had decreased dramatically to 9 percent. 
    From Older Americans 2012, Key Indicators of Well-Being, from Federal Interagency 
    Forum on Aging-Related Statistics  
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You are probably better educated than in 1965, being 3 times more likely to have a high school diploma.

In 1965, 24% of the older population had graduated from high school and only 5% had at least a Bachelor’s degree. By 2010, 80 percent were high school graduates or more and 23% had a Bachelor’s degree or more. 
    From Older Americans 2012, Key Indicators of Well-Being, from the Federal 
    Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics
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You are much less likely to die of heart disease and stroke than your grandparents.

From the website Mortality Trends, deaths from vascular disease for those age 70-79:
1955: 3953 per100,000
2010: 973 per 100,000
(averaging male and female rates)

Since 1950, age-adjusted death rates from cardiovascular disease (CVD) have declined 60%, representing one of the most important public health achievements of the 20th century.
    From Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Decline in Deaths from Heart Disease and Stroke.

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And you’ll live more of your senior years without disability.

Studies from recent years have provided evidence of a decline in the prevalence of disability among the older population over more than two decades. First, less severe disability declined beginning in the 1980s, and then more severe disability declined beginning in the 1990s.
    From Change in Disability-Free Life Expectancy for Americans 70 Years Old and Older

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If you are 65 now, you can expect to live an average of 19 more years- five years longer than in 1960.

   From Health, United States, 2012 from Centers for Disease Control & Prevention FastStats:
   Life expectancy at 65
   2010: 19.1 years
   1960: 13.9 years

Americans are living longer than ever before. Life expectancies at both age 65 and age 85 have increased. Under current mortality conditions, people who survive to age 65 can expect to live an average of 19.2 more years, nearly 5 years longer than people age 65 in 1960. In 2009, the life expectancy of people who survive to age 85 was 7 years for women and 5.9 years for men 
    From Older Americans 2012, Key Indicators of Well-Being, from the Federal Interagency Forum 
    on Aging-Related Statistics, pg. 24
 

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You will have 6-10 years during which you no longer drive.

A comparison of the men’s and women’s driving life expectancies with total life expectancies found that subsequent to driving cessation, men will have about 6 years of dependency on alternative sources of transportation, compared with about 10 years of dependency for women.
    From Driving Life Expectancy of Persons Aged 70 Years and Older in the United States

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If you are 65 now, there’s a 70% chance that you will eventually need long term care services- for an average of 3 years. If you’re a woman, you will likely need these services for longer.

About 70 percent of individuals over age 65 will require at least some type of long-term care services during their lifetime. Over 40 percent will need care in a nursing home for some period of time. Factors that increase your risk of needing long-term care are:

  • Age - The risk generally increases as you get older.

  • Marital Status - Single people are more likely to need care from a paid provider.

  • Gender - Women are at a higher risk than men, primarily because they tend to live longer.

  • Lifestyle - Poor diet and exercise habits can increase your risk.

  • Health and Family History - also impact your risk.

Women need care longer (3.7 years) than men (2.2 years)

   From website LongTermCare.gov

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You will most likely rely on family to provide your care but you will also have far fewer family members who can help than your grandparents did.

Birth rates for women have dropped steadily since the turn of the century. In 1909, there were 127 births per 1000 women. In 2012, there were only 63 births per 1000 women.
    Reported on CNN Money and National Vital Statistics, Births: Final Data for 2012

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And there will be fewer younger workers to support you.

…the dependency ratio, or the number of people 65 and older to every 100 people of traditional working ages, is projected to climb rapidly from 22 in 2010 to 35 in 2030. This time period coincides with the time when baby boomers are moving into the 65 and older age category. After 2030, however, the ratio of the aging population to the working-age population (ages 20 to 64) will rise more slowly, to 37 in 2050. The higher this old-age dependency ratio, the greater the potential burden.
    From Aging Boomers Will Increase Dependency Ratio, U.S. Census Bureau

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If you live in Tennessee, there’s a good chance your health is worse than seniors in 40 other states.

In a recent national ranking of overall well-being of seniors, Tennessee ranked 41st. In addition, 41.3% of people 65+ reported having had no physical exercise in the last 30 days, just inching out Virginia for the dubious honor of being dead last in the national ranking.
    From America’s Health Rankings

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And you are much more likely to face the threat of hunger.

In The State of Senior Hunger in America 2011: An Annual Report, by the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, Tennessee ranked 5th in the rate of seniors facing the threat of hunger.

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Living longer in frailer health also means that you will spend more money on healthcare in your last 5 years of life- on average over $38K. If you must live in a nursing home, these out of pocket expenses could average $102,000 to $163,000.

The mean out-of-pocket healthcare spending in the last 5 years was $38,688….Among those in the top 25%, average out-of-pocket spending was $101,791, and for the subset in the highest 10%, out-of-pocket expenses averaged $163,121, with nursing home expenditures accounting for 48% and 58% of total spending, respectively.
    From Out-of-Pocket Spending in the Last Five Years of Life

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If you are 65 now, you are not alone. Your baby boom generation will more than double the number of seniors from 2012 to 2060.

According to the projections, the population age 65 and older is expected to more than double between 2012 and 2060, from 43.1 million to 92.0 million. The older population would represent just over one in five U.S. residents by the end of the period, up from one in seven today. The increase in the number of the “oldest old” would be even more dramatic — those 85 and older are projected to more than triple from 5.9 million to 18.2 million, reaching 4.3 percent of the total population.
From U.S. Census Bureau