Poll Shows Older Adults and Professionals Disagree on Seniors’ NeedsPosted by Medicare Made Clear
The fourth annual United States of Aging Survey finds that older Americans’ concerns about their later years differ from those of the professionals who support them. The top three concerns about growing older include:
For adults 60 and older
- Maintaining their physical health (40 percent)
- Memory loss (35 percent)
- Maintaining their mental health (32 percent)
- Protection from financial scams (43 percent)
- Access to affordable housing (38 percent)
- Memory loss (38 percent)
This survey – conducted by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and UnitedHealthcare – polled U.S. adults 60 and older for their insights on how older Americans are preparing for the years ahead, and what communities can do to better support this growing population. New in 2015, the survey also polled professionals – Area Agencies on Aging staff, credit union managers, primary care physicians and pharmacists – who work closely with older adults to gain their perspectives on the challenges older Americans face as they age.
Being Prepared to Age
While a majority of both older adults and professionals say older Americans are prepared for the overall process of aging (86 percent and 77 percent), older adults are far more confident. Forty-two percent of older adults say they are “very prepared” to age, compared with only 10 percent of professionals.
Professionals and older adults find common ground on the keys to maintaining good health as they age, naming eating healthy (91 percent and 72 percent, respectively), maintaining a positive attitude (86 percent and 72 percent) and getting enough sleep (79 percent and 67 percent) as the most common ways to help maintain good health.
Though nearly half of older Americans (43 percent) say they are very confident they will be able to afford health care costs as they age, only 3 percent of professionals share that same level of confidence. Rather, almost two-thirds (62 percent) of professionals report they are not confident in older adults’ ability to afford their health care costs as they age.
Staying at Home
A majority (75 percent) of older Americans intend to live in their current home for the rest of their lives, and many have been proactive in making home improvements to help them age in place such as bathroom upgrades (34 percent) and improved lighting (28 percent). Both older adults and professionals would like to see services to help with home modifications and repairs (62 percent and 97 percent).
A majority of older adults (79 percent) express confidence in being able to find help and support in their communities as they age, but fewer than half of older Americans (47 percent), and only 37 percent of professionals say their community is doing enough to prepare for the needs of retiring Baby Boomers.
The survey findings reveal different perspectives on aging between older Americans and the professionals who support them, and serves as a reminder to communities on the importance of determining what they can do to better support this rapidly growing, longer-living population of older adults.
For complete survey results, visit ncoa.org/UnitedStatesofAging. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter with #USofAging.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
United States of Aging Survey: Complete 2015 survey results including oversampled local markets Denver and Cincinnati – NCOA.org/UnitedStatesofAging