The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

July 20, 2010
Fresh data on the well-being of seniors

elderly.JPGAs the demographic bulge of baby boomers moves toward retirement, there's increasing interest in the physical, emotional and economic condition of seniors as they age. To help academics and public and private service providers understand the challenges ahead, a coalition of federal agencies published a new compendium of statistics on people aged 65 and up. Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being contains the latest data on 37 measures that best describe the status of seniors today. The volume is divided into five sections: population, economics, health status, health risks and behaviors, and health care. Some highlights:

The older population is projected to grow from 35 million in 2000 to 72 million in 2030, with their portion of the total population increasing from 13 to 20 percent.

The percentage of seniors (65+) with "functional limitations" (e.g., inability to walk a few blocks or lift a moderate weight) fell from 49 to 42 percent between 1992 and 2007.

Life expectancy among U.S. seniors has increased but has trailed behind other industrialized countries.

Obesity among seniors has increased 22 to 32 percent between 1988 and 2008.

Health care costs for seniors, adjusted for inflation, grew significantly from $9,224 in 1992 to $15,081 in 2006.

PHOTO CREDIT: Mavis Spotts raises her arms during exercise at the Sutter Respite and Recreation program held at the Twelve Bridges Library, July 15, 2010. Sacramento Bee / Randy Pench.

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About The Public Eye

Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at: fraudsquad@sacbee.com.

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