According to the latest report in The Journal of the American Medical Association by Becca Levy, an associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale University who has been researching the effects of negative and positive stereotyping in older adults, suggests that seniors with this positive bias are 44% more likely to completely recover from a struggle with disability. Study showed that when seniors are introduced to negative stereotyping they are more likely to suffer memory loss, have poor physical functioning and possibly die earlier as opposed to seniors who are introduced to positive stereotyping. More here
According to a recent survey conducted by Aon Hewitt, of nearly 450 private and public sponsors representing 5.8 million retirees, six out of ten companies have or are currently reviewing and revising their current group health coverage plans. Experts claim this is largely due in part to recent changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and that exchanges may produce cost savings for retirees that can run from $500 to $1,000 per year. Many employers are allowing private firms to step in, thus taking themselves out of the equation. “Money goes a lot further in the individual market,” says Kenneth Sperling, Aon Hewitt’s national health care exchange strategy leader. more here.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
A new study from Kansas State University and Michigan State University found that prescription drug warning labels are often ignored or overlooked by older adults. The researchers tracked eye movements to measure where different age groups concentrated their attention when given a bottle of prescription medication. According to the results, half of the participants over the age of 50 failed to notice the warning labels on the vial of medication they were given. By comparison, 90 percent of participants between the ages of 20 and 29 noticed the labels. The study highlights the need to make warning labels more noticeable in order to better capture patients’ attention. There are nearly 15 million medication errors each year in the United States and, because seniors often have more complicated medication instructions to follow, it is important that warning labels are noticeable and effective. More here.
According to a recent poll from Gallup, more seniors classify themselves as thriving than at any time since 2008. The poll, which asked Americans to rate their lives as either thriving, suffering, or struggling, found the number of people who say they are thriving has been increasing since February and, among individuals over the age of 65, is up to 45.1 percent. The poll also found that women were more likely to say they were thriving than men. Among women, 56.5 percent said they were thriving in May, compared to 51.5 percent of men. Overall, 54 percent of Americans rated themselves as thriving, while 42.6 percent considered themselves to be struggling. More 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.