Report: People Doubt Communities are Ready for Senior Tsunami

A third of older adults and nearly half of adults under the age of 60 don’t think communities are prepared for the growing senior population, according to a recent national survey.

Most seniors (71%) agree their community is currently “supportive” to the needs of seniors, says the 2013 United States of Aging Survey, conducted by the National Council on Aging, UnitedHealthcare, and USA Today.

However, a third of people aged 60 and older report don’t believe the community is prepared to meet future needs of the growing senior population. That opinion gets stronger among those aged 18-49, as 45% don’t believe communities will be equipped to meet seniors’ needs.

Only 15% of 60+ seniors and 22% of older seniors reported difficulty with activities of daily living. In contrast, 76% of seniors in general said performing regular independent living activities was “not at all difficult” while 61% of older seniors said the same.

That may contribute to why Americans aged 60 and older are more likely to be concerned about the sufficiency of their finances rather than a deterioration in health, the survey found.

Six in ten seniors believe their health will stay the same in the next 5-10 years, the survey said. Another 13% think their health will improve, while less than a quarter (23%) predict their health will worsen during that timeframe.

While seniors believed their health wouldn’t change much in the upcoming decade, many aren’t doing anything to manage existing conditions or maintain good health.

Nearly two in ten (18%) seniors reported having five or more chronic health conditions, while 65% reported having two or more. However, more than half (51%) haven’t set any specific goals to manage health in the past year, while 43% have taken no steps toward preventing falls.

More than half of respondents (53%) say they are concerned about whether their savings and income will be sufficient to last them for the rest of their lives, while another 33% were not concerned.

Among retired seniors, 43% relied on Social Security as their primary source of retirement income. More than four in ten (41%) of non retired seniors planned to rely on Social Security in retirement.

Despite future fears, most respondents reported no difficulty in affording current expenses.

For 66% of respondents, it’s “easy” to pay monthly living expenses, and only 18% reported the need to reduce regular spending in 2012 in order to pay a monthly regular bill.

However, nearly two in ten (19%) said it was “difficult” to afford monthly living expenses, based on current income and savings.

View the executive summary report from The United States of Aging Survey.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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  1. says

    It looks like there are still some in the country that are in for a shock. Why is it that some refuse to believe it until it smacks them square in the face, or in this case the pocketbook?__The strain that the baby boomers are going to have on the system, both in general health care and in senior living expenses are one of the biggest problem we are going to have to face in the next few decades. __There needs to be a better way to educate the public on planning for the future, about their living accommodations and unexpected illnesses that are sure to arise in a lot of our senior population. Especially with the Medicare cuts that are looming in the future to our senior population__The government, media, and those of us in this industry need to come together and devise a plan on how to educate and prepare people for what is certainly going to be a shock to the system.__If we don't do it now, when are we? It is in every one's best interest for us to get involved and do it.

    • Dexter Holmes says

      Joe you are absolutely right education is the only forum that will correct the onslaught of mis-education in America. Lets consider the fact that the senior boomers, birth dearth and baby boomer generations collectively. Each of them were systematically taught from a clothe of work hard and long for 30 years and then retire without a care in the world; health or wealth wise. This teaching only benefits the system not the people. So, to change it we must begin to teach from a different perception of education for survival of the fittest. Wisdom is supreme and above all else get understanding of life and the meaning therein, and our empowerment to be informed with financial intelligence and health wellness. Lets get it started quickly, I'm in.

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