As the population of seniors continues to explode, more than one quarter of those age 65 to 69 fear their community will not have the resources to help them remain independent for the next five to 10 years, according to a newly released survey.
At the same time, half of those over age 65 believe their community aids their ability to lead a happy and healthy lifestyle, says The United States of Aging Survey, conducted by the National Council on Aging, UnitedHealthcare and USAToday.
A vast majority of new seniors are optimistic about the future, with 70% of those 60 to 69 years old saying their past year has been normal or better than normal and even more (75%) saying they expect their quality of life to stay the same or get better over the next five to 10 years, according to the 2,250 people over the age of 60 surveyed for the report.
Although a large group of seniors are afraid community resources will be spread too thin in the future, 40% say they do not visit their senior or community centers to see what is available in their area.
As far as public transportation is concerned, 34% say high-quality transportation services are not available, but 83 percent say they feel safe walking in their communities.
While many seniors (64%) say they are in good financial shape today, and that they can pay their monthly living expenses, almost one quarter are not confident that their income will be sufficient to continue to meet their monthly expenses over the next five to 10 years.
Fifteen percent of those surveyed say they are not confident their money will last through retirement and 8 percent have no financial plan for retirement. Of those making $30,000 or less a year, 41% say they are unaware of the benefits and programs that could help them meet their needs.
Although two thirds depend on Medicare, 29% say they are not confident they know about all the government benefits they are eligible for, and one quarter of those age 60 to 64 are not confident they will be able to afford the costs associated with Medicare.
Most (90%) feel it is important to continue to live in their current home, and most feel they can do so without making significant home modifications.
Most seniors feel they are healthy and that they take the necessary actions to maintain their health. Ninety-two percent say they handle stress well and 84% say they will be able to do what they need to to maintain their health over the next five to 10 years. Although half exercise at least four days a week, 11% are never physically active and the remainder fall somewhere in between.
Among those who do not now have a caregiver, 39% think they will need a child or grandchild to be a caregiver in the future. Of those who have a caregiver, nearly nine out of 10 are receiving care from a family member.
Not all seniors are confident and optimistic. Nearly one quarter say they have difficulty paying their monthly expenses and one fifth would be in a financial crisis if faced with a major fiscal emergency. A third of the survey respondents feel financially unprepared for the costs of long-term care.