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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / And the Survey Says

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And the Survey Says...

Yesterday, I drove down to Miami for a televised meeting discussing the findings of a brand new survey conducted by UnitedHealthcare, USA TODAY, and NCOA which surveyed 2,250 U.S. adults aged 60 or older. This inaugural United States of Aging Survey examines seniors’ outlook and preparedness for aging, and their community’s ability to meet their needs as they age.

In general, the survey found that:

  • Seniors and baby boomers expect their lives to improve as they grow older.

  • A significant minority of respondents feel less secure: about one in four reported trouble with current monthly living expenses; one-third said they will not be able to afford future long-term care services; and 72 percent of those who make less than $30,000 per year live with a chronic health condition.

  • Perceptions of community services for older Americans vary; boomers are less confident than older respondents that their community will provide the services they need to maintain health and independence.

Some of the poll results regarding seniors and caregiving are as follows:

  • Seniors are not only receiving long-term care – they are providing it, too. Half of older Americans reported having someone they consider to be a caregiver in their lives – and close to one-third (28 percent) of seniors said they serve as a caregiver for someone else.

  • Nearly nine in 10 (87 percent) of older Americans who have a caregiver said they are receiving care from a family member. More than half of those caregivers (52 percent) live at home with their care recipient.

  • Among those seniors who do not currently have a caregiver, 39 percent believe it is likely that they will need one of their children or grandchildren to serve as their caregiver in the future. Forty-five percent of respondents who serve as a caregiver for someone else reported that they would benefit from additional services to support them, such as respite care.

  • While 61 percent of these caregivers are aware that there is a service in their community that they could call to request assistance with everyday needs, only 15 percent reported having utilized such services.

I only had one question of the panel. What are the differences in feelings of well-being between those polled who were caregiving and those who are not caregiving? While that particular study of the results has not yet been conducted, I hope we caregivers are as optimistic as the poll shows the majority of respondents stated. Now, that would be great news, indeed.

Gary Barg


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