Senior health should be a concern to all of us because none of us can escape the effects of aging. The senior population is increasing steadily. Today there are around 50 million seniors in the United States. By 2036 there will be over 80 million. In 1940 someone at the age of 65 could plan on living another 14 years. Today a 65 year old can expect to live 20 more years. The point here is that senior health care has made it possible for the elderly to live longer. Although it is certainly wonderful that seniors are living longer lives, problems have arisen as it pertains to the financial burden it has created.
A recent study suggested that over 13 million seniors are financially unprepared for retirement. 9 out of 10 seniors rely on social security for support. It is believed that 50% of seniors have no private pension option and over 30% do not have savings sufficient enough to cover their needs. Those seniors having to file bankruptcy due to skyrocketing medical debt is on the rise. Today the majority of seniors depend on the medicare program for health coverage. This program is pertinent to senior health and without most seniors would have no senior health coverage at all.
However, the number of seniors on Medicare is increasing at an alarming rate. Less than a decade ago only 40 million seniors were receiving medicare. Today that number has risen to 48 million. This year has many concerned because the first of nearly 80 million baby boomers begin entering the senior class and many will enter the medicare ranks. This year with the arrival of the baby boomers it is estimated that medicare spending to preserve senior health will rise to 929 billion or 19% of the United States federal spending budget. At this rate, by the year 2030, medicare could be in big trouble.
Beyond the medical costs associated with senior health there are the problems seniors face with simply growing old. Medicare does not pay for all medical costs and therefore seniors must pay the remainder out of pocket or with supplemental insurance. As we grow older our bodies begin to fail us. We become more at risk for disease. It is no wonder that over 6 million seniors suffer from depression and only 10% will ever receive treatment. This effects senior health incredibly. Seniors are often afflicted with health concerns like osteoporosis, dementia, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Many have outlived their spouse, children and no longer have the social support system they once enjoyed. However, better senior health opportunities are out there.
It is important that seniors are encouraged to not give up on life. They need the social support system that is often lost in the shuffle because their children lead busy lives. Seniors need to stay proactive and engage in as many activities as possible to get the social support they need. It is also vital that seniors follow a proper diet and exercise. Seniors should exercise 3-5 times per week, 30 minutes per event. This is a very good for disease prevention. It will allow the senior to feel good about themselves and provide them with more energy and enthusiasm.
Seniors are living longer. Sure the cost of living longer is going to be enhanced, but seniors can still live happy in their twilight years. With exercise, diet, regular screenings, and a proper social support system in place they can be some of the best years of their lives.