More than any other population, older adults have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. The risk of severe disease or death is higher since this group is likely to already have underlying health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or respiratory illness.
But equally troublesome is the feelings of isolation and loneliness, which affect older adults at higher rates. Before the pandemic, one-third to one-half of older adults reported feeling lonely. This is a more growing concern now, especially since the effects of social isolation have an impact on physical and mental health.
⦁ Social isolation has been shown to significantly increase a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
⦁ Social isolation has an associated increased risk of 50% for dementia.
That’s where Shepherd’s Centers of America comes in. We are one of the first organizations in the nation dedicated to happy, healthy aging in place.
Every day, 10,000 people are turning 65. In about a decade, 1 in 5 residents will be retirement age, and older adults will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.
13 Fascinating Facts about Aging in America
- The older population is nearly 40 million strong. About one in eight Americans are age 65 or above. There are more people over age 60 than under 15.
- Americans are living longer. In 2000, life expectancy had risen to 81 years for males and 84 for females. By 2030, it’s projected that life expectancy will rise to 83 for males and 87 for females.
- The elderly, individuals 85+, are the fastest growing age group at an estimated six million Americans—twice as many as in 1990.
- Minorities make up almost half of the older population with 42% of people 65 and older from minority groups.
- Many elderly are poor or close to it. An estimated 16.8% of the elderly in America are poor or near poor.
- Older individuals volunteer. Nearly half, or approximately 15 million, adults 65 and older volunteer in some form.
- Your brain never stops growing. We grow new neurons with time, and the brain is constantly reshaping itself in response to learning.
- As you get older, you get happier. Many people report that they feel more content as they age.
- The elderly vote more than any other age group with a reported 70% of citizens 65 and older voting in 2008, the highest turnout rate of any age group.
- Most older adults are in good health. At the age of 75 or older, 66% of individuals report being in good health while 34% report fair or poor health.
- Elderly drivers have fewer accidents. Despite popular belief, drivers over 65 have fewer accidents per person than those under 65.
- Loneliness and isolation affect one-third to one-half of older adults. And these feelings act as a fertilizer for disease and illness, such as cognitive decline, heart disease, high blood pressure and depression.
- Ageism may be more common than sexism and racism.
All across the U.S. Shepherd’s Centers are making a difference among older Americans in very important ways — every single day.
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