Showing posts with label aging Baby Boomers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aging Baby Boomers. Show all posts

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Aging in America - Fascinating Facts

The Population Reference Bureau, which searches for population trends around the world for a variety of populations including the aged, children, and minorities, has a very interesting brochure which can be downloaded from their website.  It contains fascinating statistics about how and where the population of the United States is aging.  It is called Aging in America and you will find a link to it at the end of this article.

The twenty page brochure contains charts, statistics and far more information than I could possibly fit into a blog post.  However, I thought I would summarize some of the more fascinating facts here.

America's Aging Population

*  Baby Boomers are the people who were born between 1946 and 1964.  This means that the Baby Boomer generation began turning 65 in 2011 and is continuing to turn 65 at a rate of about 10,000 to 11,000 a DAY!

*  There are currently a little over 40 million Americans ages 65 and older; by 2050, that number will more than double to 89 million Americans.  By that time, about one-fifth of the U.S. population will be age 65 and older.

*   Japan, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom are aging at even a faster pace than the population of the United States.  Aging is also accelerating in other countries, including Russia, China, Brazil, India and Mexico, and is becoming a global phenomena.  As life expectancy grows longer and birth rates drop, the world's population will continue to age.

*  The racial make-up of this country is also changing.  In California, New Mexico and Hawaii, non-Hispanic whites now make up less than half the population of those states.  Typical Caucasian, non-Hispanic whites will be a minority nationally by 2041.  In the near future, there will no longer be a single racial majority nationwide.  The labor force at that time be made up primarily of Hispanic, Asian and multi-racial workers, while the aging Baby Boomer population consists primarily of non-Hispanic whites.  Will this knowledge encourage the non-Hispanic whites in positions of power in our government to adopt policies that provide greater access to education and jobs for those minorities who will soon be running this country?  After all, in the future those Hispanic, Asian and multi-racial workers will be the ones to support and take care of the aging Baby Boomers.

*  The aging population is not spread out evenly across the country, but is heavier in certain pockets.  For example, in the Midwest and Northeast, the population is aging faster because many of the young people are moving away and older residents are aging in place, remaining in their familiar communities. 

*  On the other hand, when people do choose to relocate, they are moving in large numbers to certain retirement destinations, bringing a higher than average number of senior citizens to those regions.  Among the retirement destinations that are heavily impacted are Florida, Arizona and Nevada.  In addition, many retirees are choosing to move to or remain in small towns and rural areas, which will increase the demand in those areas for senior housing, public transportation, health care and retail businesses.

*  According to the Index for the Well Being of Older Populations, the best countries for those 65 and older are Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States.  Our goal should be to make sure we remain near the top of the list in the coming decades.

There is a great deal of additional fascinating demographic information about our aging population in this brochure.  It is well worth reading ... as are other brochures that are available from the Population Reference Bureau.

To read the full brochure for yourself, you can download it at:  America's Aging Population from the Population Reference Bureau at - Volume 66, No. 1.

If you are looking for additional information about aging and retirement, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of articles about where to retire in the United States and overseas, health issues, financial planning and more.

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Baby Boomer Body Maintenance Plan

The majority of Baby Boomers are looking forward to living longer than previous generations.  In fact, I have read that if you are healthy at age 65, the average person can look forward to living well into their 80's. Information about increasing our longevity seem to be everywhere.

Unfortunately, the longer we live, the more likely we are to deal with some of the difficulties of having an aging body ... poor eyesight, deafness, hair loss, weight gain, osteoporosis, heart disease and, perhaps the biggest worry of all, mental decline.

With a little forethought and "maintenance," however, most people will be able to minimize these problems or, at the very least, postpone them longer than they may have thought possible.

You might be surprised to know that our body actually starts to decline long before we realize it.  As a result, you are never too young to begin taking better care of it.  The longer you can postpone health issues, the more likely it is that you will enjoy good health when you reach your 70's and 80's.

As a result, it was with great interest that I read an article titled "Stretch Your Timeline" in the March 2, 2015 issue of "Time" magazine.  In this article, they explained when different systems in our body begin to break down and how to slow down the process.  Below I have summarized their findings so we can all create our own personal body maintenance plan.

How to Maintain Your Body

Skin - I was shocked to learn that the collagen and elastin in our body begin to decline at a rate of about 1% a year starting at age 18.  Every teenager who is considering cooking herself in the sun or in a tanning salon should know about this.  In addition to protecting your skin with sunscreen, no one should start smoking if they hope to have nice skin later in life.  One worrisome issue that "Time" pointed out is that apparently some compact fluorescent light bulbs can also damage the skin.

Lungs - We begin to lose about 1% of our lung function per year starting at age 30.  Exercise will slow down the process and, although "Time" didn't specifically mention this, I'm sure this is another reason to avoid smoking.

Bones - By age 35, our bone mass begins to decline at a rate of 1% a year.  Weight bearing exercise, including jumping up and down, can help maintain your bone mass.

Muscles - Once again, exercise can come to the rescue and slow down the muscle loss that is common after the age of 40.

Eyes - Another part of our body that begins to decline at age 40 are our eyes.  Smoking speeds this up, as well as sun exposure.  Don't smoke and wear good quality sunglasses whenever you are outside, even on an overcast day.

Kidneys - Around age 50, your kidney function will start to decline.  People who drink plenty of fluids are less likely to experience as much kidney decline ... so drink water every day.

Gut - By age 60, our gut starts to absorb fewer nutrients.  As a result, it becomes even more important that you begin to make sure you are eating nutrient dense, healthy foods and avoid empty calories.  Discuss with your doctor any vitamin shortages that come up in your blood work, and find out if you should be taking extra Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, or other vitamins and minerals.

Ears - Another issue that develops in our 60's is hearing loss.  In fact, one out of three people between the ages of 65 and 74 have measurable hearing loss.  I was shocked that there does not seem to be much you can do to avoid it, other than avoiding loud music and other loud sounds.

Heart - Heart disease usually begins to appear around the mid-60's.  However, it actually started back in our 20's or 30's, when our peak aerobic capacity began to decline at about 10% per decade.  While "Time" didn't mention anything specific to do in order to postpone the decline in the aerobic capacity of our hearts, we know that exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating healthy are all ways to extend the life expectancy of our heart.

Brain - If we do everything else, but lose our cognitive function, there is almost no point to having a healthy body.  Fortunately, the same activities that keep the rest of our body healthy will also benefit our brain ... avoid smoking, get exercise, and eat a healthy diet.  In addition, we need to keep our brain active by engaging in social activities and doing things that stimulate our brain ... playing games, working puzzles, or learning a foreign language are all good ideas.

If you want to learn more about how to take care of your aging body, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article.  They will connect you with hundreds of additional articles on medical information for Baby Boomers, where to retire, family relationships, travel and more.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Aging Services in the United States

I recently attended the Orange County Senior Summit that was held in one of the clubhouses at the retirement community where I live in Southern California.  The speakers at the summit included:

Nora Eisenhower of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Laura Mosqueda who is a Professor of Geriatrics at the University of California, Irvine

Lisa Gibson, a registered dietitian and consultant for Age Well Senior Services

Marilyn Ditty, DPA, a Gerontology expert and the CEO of Age Well Senior Services

Karen Roper, MBA, the Executive Director of the Orange County Commission to End Homelessness (a serious issue in some parts of affluent Orange County)

The topic of the conference was Aging in Place with emphasis on the resources that are available to people who hope to age in their current homes.

The information that I gleaned from these experts was fascinating and, over the next few weeks, I plan to share a bit of what I learned with my readers here at

Today I thought people would be interested in the amazing effect that Baby Boomers are about to have on American society, per Karen Roper.

US Population Age 60 and Over

2005:     49,712,000
2020:     76,986,000     

In a 15 year period, the population of people over age 60 will have increased 55% ... and the population is expected to continue to increase dramatically over the next 20 years.  The population of the extremely elderly is expected to grow rapidly, as well.  For example, between 2005 and 2020, the population of people age 85 and over is also expected to have increased by 55%.

Another interesting statistic that Ms. Roper mentioned was that in 2020 (which is only 6 years from now), 20% of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65 and 20% of the U.S. population will be under the age of 16.  This will be the first time ever that the number of elderly and the number of children in the U.S. were approximately equal.

The aging population means that there will need to be a significant increase in the services that are available to help an aging population such as:

Adult Day Care
Elderly Nutrition Programs
Elder Abuse Prevention
Affordable Housing
In-Home Care
Legal Assistance
Case Management

How these services are going to be managed is something we all need to be thinking about.  We are fortunate that there are people who are already planning for ways they can help us as we age.  For example, many communities have already set up adult day care programs.  These are services that are available to help people care for loved ones who have dementia.  Being able to leave your spouse or parent with an agency during the day can make a difference between being able to care for them in your home or finding it necessary to institutionalize them ... at great expense.

Community nutrition programs for senior citizens organize services such as low cost hot lunches at senior centers and Meals-on-Wheels for the home bound.  These can make a significant difference in the ability of a person to successfully age in place.

Organizations are also helping to arrange transportation for the elderly to doctor's appointments.  Sometimes volunteers will drive them and sometimes the elderly are eligible for services like low cost taxi vouchers.  These are helpful solutions for people who are no longer able to drive.

Elder abuse is a problem that I have talked about in the past.  While this can mean physical abuse, more frequently it involves financial abuse when trusted family members or advisers swindle money from the elderly.  While there are organizations that try to watch for this type of situation, it can be difficult for people outside the family to detect.

Some of the other discussion topics at this year's summit included helping seniors find affordable housing, locate in-home care or accessing legal assistance.  If you or someone you know could benefit from these services, they should contact case carriers from the state Social Services department or talk to someone at their local senior center to find legitimate sources of help.

In the next couple of weeks, this blog will cover some of the other issues that were discussed at the senior summit, including maintaining your nutritional health as you get older and how to talk to people with Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia.

If you are getting near retirement age, you may also wish to check out the tabs at the top of this blog.  They contain links to hundreds of other articles to help you, including where to retire in the US and abroad, medical issues that could arise, financial planning, and more.

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Photo taken by author, Deborah-Diane; all rights reserved.