Thu, Aug 09, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Americans upbeat about aging and future, poll shows

Reuters, NEW YORK

Baby boomers are upbeat about aging and expect the next phase of their lives to be better than the last, but many are concerned about their financial future and long-term health costs, a survey released on Tuesday showed.

Americans are living healthier and longer that ever before. The US Census Bureau predicts boomers will turn 65 at a rate of 10,000 per day for the next decade, making them, along with centenarians, the fastest-growing segment of the population.

More than 75 percent of seniors questioned in the poll on aging are optimistic, think the best is yet to come, and expect to have the same quality of life, or better, during their next decade.

“The reason they are upbeat is because we have changed our definition of aging. People are working longer. They see people that are older being healthier,” said Donna Shalala, the president of the University of Miami and a former US secretary of health and human services during the administration of former US president Bill Clinton.

Shalala, 71, who was to discuss the results of the poll during a panel on successful aging in Miami yesterday, said people are buoyed by seeing their relatives living longer.

“My mother is 100 years old. Why shouldn’t I be optimistic?” she said.

The majority of 2,250 seniors, aged 60 or older, questioned in the telephone survey from the National Council on Aging, medical insurer UnitedHealthcare and the newspaper USA Today said they are confident they will be able to maintain their health and think they manage stress effectively.

Although many seniors feel financially secure, nearly half of low and middle-income seniors questioned in the poll are not confident they will be able to cover their expenses over the next five to 10 years.

The poll was conducted between May 10 and June 6. The margin of error for the general population is plus or minus 3.1 percent.

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