Americans are upbeat but uncertain about aging, The National Council on Aging and UnitedHealthcare found in a survey of people 60 and older, released Wednesday.
The survey, “The United States of Aging,” found more than three-quarters of people between ages 60 and 69 say they expect their quality of life will stay the same or get better in the next five to 10 years. More than a quarter say their health is better than normal. Across all age groups, the “vast majority” say their health will get better or stay the same over the next five to 10 years.
The majority of respondents are managing stress well, and 84% say they’re confident they can do what it takes to stay healthy. That confidence doesn’t necessarily translate to action, though. Just over half of seniors say they exercise at least four days per week. Ten percent say they only exercise a few days a month, and 11% don’t exercise at all.
“It’s encouraging that so many of our survey respondents feel confident and empowered to maintain their health as they age, but it’s important that this positive mindset doesn’t prevent them from taking the necessary steps to counter the epidemic of obesity among our senior population, such as exercising most days of the week to help maintain a healthy weight,” Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare’s medicare and retirement business, said in a statement.
That confidence-action gap can be seen in seniors’ financial lives, too. A majority of respondents said they felt financially secure, but nearly a quarter have difficulty paying monthly expenses. Nearly 20% are “one major financial event away from a fiscal crisis.” Maybe it’s good news, then, that the percentage of respondents with no retirement plan is relatively small: 8%.