Monday, April 15, 2013

Trouble Ahead for Boomers?

As they approach old age, baby boomers are more disabled than their predecessors. This finding might surprise some, steeped in the pervasive myth that boomers are active and healthy relative to older generations. But to researchers writing in Demography, "the finding that activity limitations have increased over the last decade among those nearing late life is not new" (Trends in Late Life Activity LimitationsDemography, April 2013, $39.95).

Specifically, people aged 55 to 64 are experiencing more health-related activity limitations than their counterparts did ten years earlier, report the Demography researchers. A new study by MetLife Mature Market Institute (On the Critical List? A MetLife Report on the Health Status of the 40+ Population) examines this problem, drawing on government data that show a growing percentage of 45-to-64-year-olds with multiple chronic conditions. Even more ominously, the chronically ill are increasingly likely to delay getting medical care because of cost. In 2000, 17 percent delayed getting care. In 2010, the figure was a larger 23 percent. Those who delay getting care often end up needing more care at greater cost as their condition worsens. 

"Overwhelmingly, recent health status statistics are indicators of a potential health 'train wreck' in the near future." concludes the MetLife study.

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