There is no denying that America’s mature adults are healthier than past generations. This uptick in healthly living is in large part a result of improved medical services, interventions and education.
Fewer seniors are dying due to disease and illness. Death due to heart disease is down 19% for men and 24% for women. Cancer is also claiming fewer seniors with 14% fewer men and 18% fewer women dying as a result of their battle with cancer.
Improved prevention is certainly contributing factor to improved health and longevity for our elderly. A 40-60% higher rate of regular mammograms, colonoscopies and pap smears has made early-detection an increased likelihood. Half of today’s seniors also receive their flu and pneumonia shots successfully guarding their health through these readily available means of prevention.
Today’s seniors are far more well educated than past generations on the importance of continued exercise and physical fitness. Of seniors polled between 2002-2003 only 13% reported participating in regular aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise. Ten years later, in 2012-2013 polls 16% of seniors say that they get these types of exercise regularly. Benefits such improved weight management, increased energy and improved mood are enjoyed as a result by these fitness savvy seniors.
Fewer seniors are smoking today with 2% fewer reporting as active smokers. Unfortunately, for seniors in poverty the rate of cigarette smoking is much higher than those who are not.
All of these improved statistics are greatly encouraging, but not all news is positive.
The rate of chronic disease among seniors has not improved and in some cases has become more of a concern. Rates of diabetes and obesity have taken small increases in the last ten years and high blood pressure has increased by 11%. The number of prescription drugs available to treat these conditions as well as many others are credited to the continued health of those battling such chronic illnesses.