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New Survey Uncovers Optimism among U.S. Seniors

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More than three quarters of seniors expect to maintain or improve their quality of life over the next 5 to 10 years, according to a new report.

UnitedHealthcare, Minnetonka, Minn., and The National Council on Aging, Washington, D.C., published this finding in an inaugural “United States of Aging Survey” to examine seniors’ outlook and preparedness for aging. Based on a poll of 2,250 U.S. adults age 60 or older, the survey focuses both on individual readiness for aging and seniors’ perceptions of their community’s ability to meet their needs as they age.

Of the total sample, 40% have low to moderate incomes—making $30,000 or less per year—similar to the U.S. population.

The survey reveals that more than 75% of seniors ages 60-69 expect their quality of life to stay the same or get better over the next five to 10 years. And close to 70% of respondents say the past year of their lives has been normal or better than normal.

The survey also finds, however, that advances in senior wellness and security have not been universal. The reason: a lack of awareness of programs and services that can support older adults.

Fifteen percent of surveyed seniors say they are not confident their finances will last through their retirement years. And 8% have no financial plan for retirement. Among respondents making less than $30,000 a year, 41% say they are unaware of all the benefits and programs that could help meet their needs.

More than 25% of seniors ages 65 to 69 say their health is better than normal. And most of all age groups expect their health to get better or stay about the same over the next five to 10 years (75% of boomers ages 60-64; 70% of those ages 65-69; 66% of respondents ages 70 and older).

More than 9 in 10 respondents (92%) say they manage stress very well or somewhat well. And 84% say they are confident that they will be able to maintain their health over the next five to 10 years.

However, just over half (52%) of the surveyed seniors say they exercise or are physically active at least four days per week, with another quarter indicating they are active one to three days per week.

About one in 10 respondents reported that their exercise or physical activity is limited to just a few days each month. And 11% are never physically active.


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