A large majority of American retirees say they’d prefer to continue to live in their current home over moving into a traditional senior community, according to a report from the Urban Land Institute titled Housing in America – The Baby Boomers Turn 65. The report says there are now three generations of Americans over the age of 65 and their preferences and outlook on housing options is vastly different than it has been in the past. Though most seniors express a desire to stay where they are, current retirees who do move are increasingly moving to cities and suburbs where they can be close to their children, public transportation, and health care. More here and 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.
A new survey from the National Council on Aging and USA Today finds American seniors optimistic about their health and future. The first ever United States of Aging Survey polled 2,250 adults over the age of 60 to measure their attitudes and perceptions on aging. And though there were a significant number of respondents facing financial hardship, the majority of surveyed seniors expressed optimism that their quality of life would remain the same or get better over the next five to ten years. Among participants, 70 percent said the past year had been normal or better than normal and 75 percent of respondents between the ages of 60 and 69 said they expect their life to get better. Also, a majority of seniors said they expect their health to improve or stay the same over the next five to ten years and 25 percent said their health is better than normal. But while 84 percent of seniors said they expected to be able to do what is needed to maintain their health, only 52 percent said they exercise or are active at least four days a week. More here.
A recent survey of 2,697 Americans found that 49 percent are not contributing to a retirement plan and a majority of younger workers are not saving for their future needs. The survey, conducted by LIMRA Retirement Research, found that less than a third of Americans over the age of 50 had met with a financial professional to discuss a plan for retirement and, among respondents that said they aren’t contributing to a retirement plan, most said they can’t afford to save. The survey results also show that higher-income Americans are most likely to consider contributing to a plan in the next year. Matthew Drinkwater, LIMRA’s managing director, said that the results were disturbing due to the fact that people will need to rely heavily on their personal savings to make ends meet in retirement. Drinkwater said that it is critical that people begin saving systematically early in their working years to properly address their retirement needs. More here and here.
The majority of Alzheimer’s patients are women, as are the majority of people serving as caregivers to Alzheimer’s patients. That is the basis of a new study from the Working Mother Research Institute which seeks to measure the toll of Alzheimer’s on women. The study, titled The Caregiver’s Crisis, found that 82 percent of current caregivers are providing care in their home or the patient’s home. Among them, 39 percent say they feel they have no choice. Also, nearly half of women caregivers say they feel overwhelmed and 65 percent say they have not had a vacation in the past year. Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media, said too many women are fulfilling a role they didn’t anticipate and it’s taking a great toll on their health as well as their families and careers. Almost 40 percent of current caregivers say they’ve passed up promotions because of their caregiving duties. More here and here.
Research led by Dr. Laura Asher of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London compared the walking speed of adults over the age of 65 to the time required to safely use a pedestrian crosswalk. The findings determined that a walking speed of at least 1.2 meters per second was necessary to cross the street in time but older men had a mean walking speed of just 0.9 meters per second and women came in at 0.8 meters per second. Also, the speed at which men and women walked slowed as their age increased. The research concluded that 76 percent of older men and 85 percent of women had a walking speed below what was necessary to cross the road safely. Dr. Asher said older people are more likely to be involved in road traffic collisions due to slower walking speeds, decision making, and perceptual difficulties. More here.
Despite recent economic volatility, Americans still feel passing on good values is better than leaving behind an inheritance. A survey of baby boomers and adults over the age of 72 found that Americans’ feelings about leaving a legacy have not changed much since 2005, when the original survey was conducted. Among the results, 86 percent of boomers said that family stories were important to pass on and 75 percent said it was extremely important that future generations remembered their parents. The survey also found that baby boomers aren’t expecting much of an inheritance, though previous research estimates that two of three boomers will inherit something. Among participants over the age of 72, the vast majority said it was important to their children that they had a living will in case they become terminally ill and 78 percent said it was their responsibility to begin a conversation with their children about their legacy. More here.
The increasing cost of medical care in America threatens the dream of a comfortable retirement, even among people with $250,000 or more in household assets. A recent poll of Americans between the ages of 55 and 65 found that, among the seemingly financially prepared, there was a lack of planning for healthcare expenses and a widespread misunderstanding of Medicare benefits. The results revealed that Americans have many misconceptions about their potential medical expenses during retirement. Among them, respondents estimated that Medicare would pay for 68 percent of their healthcare costs during retirement and cover long-term care expenses, which it does not. They also underestimated the average amount Americans spend annually on medical expenses and few had a plan for dealing with the cost of long-term care, despite the fact that a majority of older adults will need it at some point. More here.
A county-level analysis of life expectancy found a large majority of American counties have been falling behind as compared to countries such as Japan and Canada that rank among the top performers in the world. The research, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, found that 80 percent of counties in America fell below the average of the 10 nations with the highest life expectancies between 2000 and 2007. For men, life expectancy ranged from 65.9 to 81.1 years and, for women, between 73.5 and 86 years. Regionally, the worst performing counties were in the South, Appalachia, and Northern Texas and the best life expectancies were found on the coasts and in the Northern Plains. The authors noted that, more than racial or economic factors, the reason behind America’s poor performance was primarily preventable factors such as smoking, high obesity rates, and other lifestyle-related behaviors. More here and here.
Stress can have a significant impact on health. It can also trigger gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid reflux. Surveys have shown a majority of people who suffer from acid reflux site stress as a trigger. Mitchell Cappell, MD, PhD, chief of gastroenterology at Beaumont Hospital, says patients who are under a lot of psychological stress suffer more severe symptoms, without necessarily having more severe reflux. And, though that doesn’t mean stress-related reflux is merely psychological, it is common for highly stressed people to become more aware and more sensitive to their symptoms. According to Cappell, stress can affect many gut functions and heartburn, in these stressful times, is incredibly common. More here.