Increasing the age of eligibility for Medicare has been a controversial issue when discussing budget-cut negotiations at the White House. The McClathy Newspapers reported that, according to White House officials the issue has not yet been eliminated, although President Obama said that it was not certain that a higher eligibility age “saves a lot of money. But what I’ve said is, let’s look at every avenue.” The Congressional Budget Office projects that slowly increasing the eligibility year for Medicare by two months a year from 2014-2027 could possibly reduce program spending by $148 billion over the next decade. More here
A majority of Americans say they expect to work past retirement age, according to a new survey conducted by Ipsos. Among respondents to the survey, 54 percent said they think they’ll have to work past the usual age of retirement, while just 46 percent said it was their preference. The survey, which gauged consumers’ attitudes toward retirement across 10 different countries, found American respondents had both the oldest expected age of retirement and the oldest desired age of retirement. Participants said they’d like to retire at age 61 but didn’t expect to be able to until they were 67. By comparison, Chinese respondents said they expected to retire at age 53. Also, 60 percent of Americans said they were worried that they wouldn’t have enough money to provide an adequate standard of living during retirement. More here.
Seniors who exercise regularly are more likely to say they are in excellent or very good health. In a recent Gallup poll, 51 percent of older adults who exercised frequently said they were in excellent health while only 34 percent of seniors who do not exercise said the same. But while healthy eating habits increase with age, exercise habits fall off as we get older. Nearly 60 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 report exercising at least 30 minutes three or more days during the week. That number falls to 45 percent among those over the age of 90. By comparison, 91 percent of respondents over the age of 90 said they ate a healthy diet all day yesterday, while just 54 percent of Americans between the age of 18 and 24 said the same. In short, seniors who maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and visit the dentist are more likely to report good health than those that don’t. More here.
According to Census Bureau figures, there will be approximately 10,000 people turning 65 every day until nearly 2030. And, with the number of senior citizens rising rapidly, so will the number of cost-burdened senior households. According to the most recent American Community Survey, 42 million households pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing and 20.2 million pay more than half. Unfortunately, older Americans are especially vulnerable to these financial struggles. In fact, the number of older households with severe housing cost burdens jumped by one million between the years 2001 and 2010. Adding to the likelihood of a continued spike in burdened senior households, the recent recession led to a $14.3 trillion drop in net household wealth at the same time the number of older homeowners with mortgages has been increasing. From 1999 to 2009, the share of homeowners over the age of 65 with mortgages increased 11 percent. More here and here.
According to a new retirement survey from the Society of Actuaries, the number of respondents who say they do not expect to be able to retire has risen since 2009. That year, 29 percent of workers approaching retirement age said they didn’t expect to be able to retire. The latest results, on the other hand, found 35 percent of pre-retirees pessimistic about their retirement options. Among surveyed participants, nearly 90 percent of people approaching retirement age say they plan to continue working in order to stay active and engaged but, among those with financial concerns, more than 80 percent named additional income and preserving assets as their reason to keep working. Benefits were cited by 61 percent of those who plan on staying employed. Carol Bogosian, actuary and retirement expert, said current trends indicate that people may need to work longer than they originally planned. More here and here.
A recent survey, conducted on behalf of Pfizer, asked more than 1,000 participants over the age of 18 for their perspective on aging. The results show how perceptions and priorities change as we age. For example, participants between the ages of 50 and 64 were the most optimistic about getting old and the most likely to say they feel like they look five or more years younger than they actually are. Older respondents were also the most likely to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day and to say they are more active than their parents were at the same age. Younger respondents ranked money higher on a list of aspirations and said people should start watching what they eat at 20 and start having yearly physicals at 21. Health was the number one reason people said that aging was better than they expected. More here.
A recently released breakdown of Social Security benefits found that 36 percent of recipients aren’t retired workers but, instead, are children, the disabled, and spouses and survivors of workers. Altogether, nearly one in every six Americans is getting a Social Security benefit, equaling approximately 59.2 million beneficiaries in 2010. But though a large percentage of beneficiaries aren’t retired workers, retirees rely most heavily on the program for income. According to data from 2009, Social Security provided at least half of the income for 66 percent of seniors receiving benefits. Also, the average age of disabled-worker beneficiaries was 52.8 percent in 2010. More here.
Older honeybees have the ability to reverse brain aging when they are given tasks normally reserved for much younger bees, according to new research from Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences. While bees are in the hive caring for their larvae, they can maintain mental competence. But, once they leave the hive to gather food, they begin to age rapidly. The study, however, removed younger bees from the hive and found, when the older bees began doing the work of younger bees, they were able to significantly improve their ability to learn new things. The researchers believe this ability is tied to a change in proteins in the bees’ brain. The research, though unable to translate directly to humans, suggests that keeping active, social, and mentally challenged may help preserve brain function and prevent aging. More here and here.
According to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the average person should expect to live between 20 and 24 years beyond retirement age by 2050. That is up from 17 to 20 years in 2010. But increasing life expectancy also means increasing financial struggles for both individuals and governments. The report suggests raising the retirement age to relieve that burden and address the sustainability of government policies. Currently, the official retirement age in the U.S. is 66, though individuals can begin collecting retirement benefits as early as 62. The retirement age is scheduled to rise two months each year starting in 2017 until it reaches 67 in 2022. More here.
Only 0.2 percent of the population is over the age of 100 but the number of centenarians rises about 8.0 percent each year. According to a new study from the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the key to their longevity may be their personality. Researcher Nir Barzilai, PhD, gave questionnaires to 243 people 100 years or older and their family members. He examined their tendencies and compared their scores to the national averages. In general, Barzilai found that people who live to be 100 are outgoing, conscientious, positive, laugh a lot, express their emotions often, and aren’t neurotic. But despite the fact that centenarians seem to share certain personality traits, Barzilai says the number one predictor for living to be 100 years old is having parents who lived beyond 100 years. More here and here.