The National Research Council report, Aging And The Macroeconomy: Long-Term Implications Of An Older Population, stated that the population age 65 and older are expected to hurt Medicare, Social Security and other federal programs. Life expectancy in the United States is increasing. In the 1900′s, 31 years old was the average life expectancy compared to today’s average of 78 years old and is suspected to rise to 84.5 years old by 2050. The boost of age will bring many economic challenges, according to the report, but the government has presented options to possibly help overcome future obstacles. More here
A study aimed at determining how many years of life were gained based on the level of exercise an individual engaged in after the age of 40 has found that leisure-time physical activity is linked to life expectancy. The research, led by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health, looked at data on more than 650,000 adults over the age of 40 and found that people who got the recommended level of physical activity lived 3.4 years longer than those that didn’t and individuals who reported getting twice the recommended level of exercise increased their lifespan by 4.2 years. Generally, the more activity a person reported, the longer their life expectancy. More here.
According to the findings of a new study funded by the National Institute on Aging, the rate of disability is improving among the oldest Americans but increasing among people between the ages of 55 and 64. The results represent a new pattern, after many years when the level of disabilities decreased consistently among all demographics. Vicki Freedman, lead author of the study and a demographer at the University of Michigan, said the trend is important to watch due to the impact it may have on families and health care programs down the road. The study also found seniors between the ages of 65 and 84 years old had virtually the same level of disability as they did a decade ago. More here.
A new report from the National Research Council says the economic effects of an aging U.S. population need to be addressed in order to avoid negative consequences for all generations. Longer life expectancies and lower birth rates mean the increasing demographic shift toward an older population isn’t temporary and changes will be necessary to tackle the expanding share of national resources required to address the needs of older Americans. Robert Lee, professor of demography and economics at the University of California, Berkeley, said the nation needs to rethink its outlook and policies on working and retirement. According to the report, increasing older adults’ participation in the workforce, better financial literacy and retirement preparation, as well as structural changes to federal programs are all available options that would effectively address the growing needs of an older population. More here.
The National Retirement Risk Index is a measure of how many American households will be unable to afford the same standard of living during retirement as they did before retirement. According to the most recent update, the Index found 51 percent of pre-retirement households are at risk of being financially unprepared based on readiness to retire at age 65. When the retirement age is raised to 70, however, the number of American households that would be ready for retirement increases to 85 percent. The authors write that the steep improvement in readiness from age 65 through 70 reflects the importance of Social Security and the pattern of its benefit payments. According to the report, Social Security also closes the readiness gap between low-income and high-income households. By age 70, households who rely most heavily on Social Security are nearly as prepared to retire as high-income households. More here and here.
According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, vitamin E may help lower the risk of liver cancer. The research, which analyzed data from 132,837 individuals in China who enrolled in national health studies between 1997 and 2006, found that high consumption of vitamin E, whether from diet or supplements, had a clear relationship to lowered liver-cancer risk. Liver cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in the world, the fifth most common cancer in men, and the seventh most common in women. The authors of the study wrote that there was a clear, inverse dose-response relation between vitamin E intake and liver cancer risk. The relationship was consistent among participants with and without liver disease or a family history of liver cancer. More here.
As part of a recently announced effort to find effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, the Obama administration is seeking more funding for research into the disease. The National Institutes of Health announced it will devote an additional $50 million to dementia research and the President will ask Congress for $80 million to fund Alzheimer’s research in 2013. Experts and advocates say the more than half a billion dollars allocated for Alzheimer’s next year isn’t enough and, in order to make real progress, nearly $2 billion a year would be needed. Still, with 5 million Americans currently suffering with the disease, the increased effort is a significant step toward discovering new and effective treatments for Alzheimer’s. More here.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of Americans being screened for cancer continues to fall below recommended national targets. Sallyann Coleman King of the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control said screening for colorectal, cervical, and breast cancers can help find the disease at an earlier stage when it can be treated more effectively. Still, the report found that breast cancer screening rates were 72.4 percent, short of the national goal of 81 percent. Screening for cervical cancer was 10 percent below the target and colorectal cancer screening rates were 12 percent short of the goal. The report based its findings on data gathered during the CDC’s 2010 National Health Interview Survey. More here.
There are an estimated 5.4 million Americans suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and, by 2050, that number is expected to triple, costing $1 trillion in medical and nursing-home expenses. Because of the staggering numbers associated with the disease, the federal government has announced the first National Alzheimer’s Plan, which sets 2025 as a target for developing more effective treatments, addressing the medical and social problems of dementia, and developing ways to prevent the illness. Harry Johns, president of the Alzheimer’s Association and one of the advisers working on the plan, said what is important is developing a comprehensive plan that deals with the needs of people who already have the disease. The plan, which is still being written, is the first to deal with the issue of Alzheimer’s and the rapidly aging American population. More here.
A survey from the National Journal found significant differences in the attitudes and expectations of retirees and those who are nearing retirement age. The survey, which polled 1,200 adults, found that those still working expect to retire six years later than the age at which currently retired Americans stopped working. The findings suggest that the most recent recession has created uncertainty for Americans approaching retirement that previous retirees did not experience. For example, 68 percent of near-retirees expect to work after they retire and nearly half say it’ll be out of necessity. Among the currently retired, however, only 11 percent report working during their retirement. Also in the survey, 23 percent of the currently retired said their biggest concern is outliving their money followed by health-care expenses. Among near-retirees, health-care expenses were the top concern and just 15 percent said they were concerned about outliving their money. More here.