As the population of the United States ages, it's forcing many communities to take a harder look at things like housing, transportation, social services, cultural offerings, and health and wellness programs. To gauge whether individuals and communities are ready to deal with 77 million aging Baby Boomers, the National Council on Aging, UnitedHealthcare and USA Today created The United States of Aging Survey.
The organizations surveyed 2,250 U.S. adults over the age of 60 about how well prepared they were for retirement and getting older. The majority of older Americans, 64 percent, said they don’t have trouble paying their monthly living expenses now, but 24 percent said they weren't confident their income would last over the next five to 10 years.
When it comes to retirement savings, 23 percent of seniors are either not confident in, or do not have, a financial plan for their retirement years. Seventy-one percent of respondents said they would not be able to pay medical expenses if an accident or unexpected medical issue occurred.
Two-thirds of Americans over the age of 65, or 66 percent, said they depend on Medicare, but one in four of those aged 60 to 64 said they were not confident they would be able to afford the costs associated with Medicare, such as deductibles, premiums and copays in future years.
Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed said they weren't confident they know about all of the government benefits for which they are eligible.
One in five seniors surveyed said they're still employed either full-time or part-time. When asked to list their main reasons for remaining employed, 69 percent listed economic reasons, 76 percent productivity, and 70 percent enjoyment.
Only 28 percent of those surveyed felt their community offered enough job opportunities for older Americans.
Penn Schoen Berland conducted the interviews between May 10 and June 6, 2012, in upstate New York, Milwaukee, Miami, Dallas and Orange County, California.
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization in Washington, D.C.