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United States of Aging Survey - Part 2

Does Senior Confidence Match the Reality?


Updated August 21, 2012

United States of Aging Survey - Part 2

Another infographic from the United States of Aging Survey

National Council on Aging

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) in conjunction with United Healthcare sponsored a survey conducted by Penn Schoen Berland that included 2,250 U.S. adults aged 60 and older who shared their perspectives on their own individual readiness for aging as well as their perceptions of their community's resources for senior residents. Top line results reveal that:

  • Seniors and baby boomers expect their lives to improve as they grow older.
  • A significant minority of respondents feel less secure: about one in four.
  • Boomers are less confident than older respondents that their community will provide the services they need to maintain health and independence.

In our first article we looked at boomer and senior responses to Financial Security, Caregiving and Aging in Place. Let's look at the other results.

Community Resources and Support

  • While more than half (56 percent) of all seniors surveyed report that they are satisfied with the resources and services their community offers now, almost one quarter (23 percent) have little or no confidence that these resources will be available over the next five to 10 years.
  • Half of older Americans believe that their community aids their ability to lead a happy and healthy life. Nearly as many - 42 percent - feel their community has no bearing on their health or happiness.
  • Among respondents aged 65 to 69, 28 percent report little to no confidence that their community will have the resources and services they need to live an independent lifestyle in the next five to 10 years.
  • Additionally, 40 percent of older Americans say that they do not visit the senior and community centers in their region enough to have an opinion about the quality of the programming and events available.
  • The majority of respondents (83 percent) feel safe when they walk in their community, but more than a third (34 percent) do not believe that high-quality transportation services are currently available.

Health and Wellness

  • Older Americans are optimistic about their health and say they are healthier than ever.
  • More than three in four seniors aged 60 to 69 expect their quality of life to stay the same or get better over the next five to 10 years.
  • Nearly two-quarters of respondents (65 percent) say the past year of their life has been normal or better than normal.
  • More than eight in 10 agree with the statement, ―I have a strong sense of purpose and passion about my life and my future.
  • A large majority of older Americans give themselves high marks when it comes to maintaining their physical and mental health. Ninety-two percent report that they manage their stress levels well.
  • Eighty-four percent say they are confident that they will be able to do what is needed to maintain their health over the next five to 10 years.
  • Eighty percent of older Americans are confident in their ability to manage their health conditions on their own, reducing their need to see a doctor.
  • More than half of respondents (52 percent) exercise or are physically < a href="http://assistedliving.about.com/od/caringforclients/a/nursingandassistedlivingactivities.htm">active at least four days per week. A quarter is active one to three days a week, 11 percent are active only a few days per month, and another 11 percent are never physically active.
  • The vast majority of respondents - 94 percent - are confident of their ability to find a primary care physician in their community, while 60 percent believe they would be able to see a geriatric care physician.
  • More than nine in 10 seniors (92 percent) report that they communicate well with their doctors regarding their health questions and concerns.

When asked to choose the best word or phrase to describe people their age, a quarter of respondents selected ―senior citizens. Other leading choices were ―seniors (18 percent), ―retirees (15 percent) and ―older Americans‖ (11 percent).

Providers should assess these responses, weigh business need, assess how your community might respond to the same questions and then make business strategy decisions from the data.

About the Survey

Penn Schoen Berland conducted 2,250 telephone interviews with Americans ages 60 and older between May 10 and June 6, 2012.

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers.

The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA's mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.

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