The Cost of Aging

by Lois Etienne on August 1, 2011

in Finances,Insurance,Senior Health and Safety

Senior citizens in America are enjoying longer lives and better health, but the cost of health care for the elderly has risen dramatically, according to Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being, released by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. After adjustment for inflation, health care costs increased significantly among older Americans from $9,224 in 1992 to $15,081 in 2006.

In general, health care expenses in the United States rose from $1,106 per person in 1980 ($255 billion overall) to $8,086 per person in 2009 ($2.5 trillion overall). During this period, health care costs grew faster than the economy as a whole. As a consequence, health spending now accounts for 17.6 percent of the GDP, compared to 9 percent in 1980. With the aging of the population and the accelerating pace of medical innovation, this trend is likely to continue.

75% of all health care dollars are spent on patients with one or more chronic conditions, many of which can be prevented, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.

The best way to keep health care costs under control is to do all within your power to stay healthy, which includes following a nutritious diet and exercising. Many older adults begin a downward spiral into poor health because they’ve lost their spouse and they are lonely or because they have fallen and broken a hip or developed a chronic illness. All of these issues can be diminished in some fashion by getting support and assistance. Get educated. Get moving!

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