This May people will gather across the country to honor and celebrate Older Americans.
May was first designated National Older Americans Month by President John F. Kennedy’s administration.
At the time, only about 17 million Americans, or 9 percent of the population, lived long enough to reach their 65th birthday, and Medicare had yet to be established. Needless to say, there has been plenty of progress.
While we anticipate much of this year’s focus will be on recognizing the tremendous contributions of senior adults, the group as a whole still faces many challenges. Let us share with you six leading concerns. Our hope is that with this knowledge you and the seniors you love can work together to foster an environment that promotes strong planning and good health for the future.
1. Weight gain in Older Americans.
Obesity rates among older adults have steadily increased over the past decade, and research tells us they currently stand at an eye-opening 40 percent of 65-to-74-year-olds.
2. Gray Divorce for Older Americans.
More older adults are getting divorced compared to previous generations. The share of divorced couples aged 65 and older has increased from 3 percent in 1980, to 13 percent today. The divorce rate among elderly couples, age 80 and over, has nearly tripled over the same period.
3. Older Americans facing isolation.
Older women are more likely than ever to live alone. More than one-fourth, or 27 percent, of women ages 65 to 74 now live alone, and the figure jumps to 42 percent among women ages 75 to 84, and to 56 percent among women ages 85 and older.
4. Nursing home care.
The aging “Baby Boomer” generation is fueling a massive increase in the number of Americans age 65 and older who need nursing home care. In 2010, about 1.3 million seniors required nursing home care, but by 2030 that number is expected to balloon to 2.3 million.
5. Alzheimer’s Disease.
Demand for elder care is in part fueled by a steep rise in the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, which is expected to nearly triple by 2050 to 14 million.
6. Social Security and Medicare funding for Older Americans.
As senior Americans continue to age and become a larger share of the population, Social Security and Medicare costs will also increase and put even more pressure on the already financially strapped programs.
While these statistics may be shocking, our goal is that, armed with this knowledge you may plan forward for yourself, as an Older American, and for those you care about. Do not wait to ask us your questions about this or any elder care issues you may be facing today.