Aging Boomers Face Higher Levels of Disability

Baby boomers in the United States are more likely than the
previous generation to have a disability as they near late-life, suggest a
growing number of researchers. One new study found that baby boomers (ages 49
to 67 in 2013) are living longer than people roughly 20 years older, but are
not healthier. While they are less likely to smoke, have emphysema, or a heart
attack, they are more likely to be obese, have diabetes, or high blood pressure
than the previous generation at similar ages. Another recent study documented
rising disability levels among middle-age Americans (ages 40 to 64, a group
that included most baby boomers) in recent years. The analysis identified a
link between trends in obesity and disability, according to Linda Martin, a
RAND Corporation demographer and lead author of the study. And a study in a
recent issue of the journal Demography–synthesizing
the results of five national surveys—found increasing disability among those
ages 55 to 64 between 2000 and 2008 (a group that included the oldest baby
boomers). By contrast, disability levels continued to decline among the oldest
Americans (ages 85 and older) and held steady among the elderly ages 65 to 84
during the same period, reported Vicki Freedman, a University of Michigan
demographer and lead author. "Troubling," is what Martin, who has
long tracked disability patterns, called the trends. "These are the
members of our future older population."

Source/more: Population Reference Bureau

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