Over the next 20 years, the number of people over age 65 is set to nearly double—reaching the 72 million mark by the year 2030, according to a recent federal analysis.
The report, "Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being," was prepared by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics and pinpoints 37 factors that contribute to the comfort and security of senior citizens. These factors include things like: life expectancy, housing problems, chronic health conditions, and level of physical activity.
Here are a few of the report's more interesting findings:
- Rich or poor, older Americans rely on Social Security: Social Security has been the single biggest contributor to older Americans' finances since the 1960s—accounting for anywhere between 20 and 84 percent of a given senior's income.
- Common chronic health conditions in the elderly vary by gender: Men were more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease and cancer, while women were more often plagued by hypertension, asthma and arthritis.
- More seniors get in shape, but obesity still a problem: While the percentage of seniors meeting the minimum Federal physical activity guidelines has increased over the past twelve years (from 6 percent in 1998 to 11 percent in 2010), the rates of obesity and diabetes have also risen in the older population during this time.
- Long-term care expenses are expensive: Seniors living in long-term care facilities pay over four times as much in health care costs than those continuing to live at home ($61,318 per year versus $13,150 per year)
- Hospice care use increasing: The number of people turning to hospice for end-of-life care has dramatically increased over the past decade. In 1999, 19.2 percent of Medicare beneficiaries received hospice care in their last month of life. By 2009, this number had increased to 42.6 percent.
Conducted on a bi-annual basis, the Older Americans reports are meant to help policy-makers and elder care providers keep a finger on the pulse of the condition of aging in America.