Is our baby boomer demographic “delusional” about our health? That’s what’s been reported recently, based upon key findings below. I’ve summarized cogent points here of a poll released recently by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Harvard School of Public Health and NPR—which also reported the story. Take a look…
- For most retirees, life in retirement is better or the same as it was before, but it is worse for a substantial minority in key areas, including health and finances.
- Pre-retirees may underestimate the challenges of retirement.
- Pre-retirees expect to retire later than the earlier cohort and some expect not ever to fully retire.
- Finances play a key role in the decision to delay or even avoid retirement among those not yet retired.
- A substantial minority of pre-retirees and retirees say they don’t or won’t have enough money to live comfortably.
- Both pre-retirees and retirees expect a long, relatively healthy life.
- Both retirees and pre-retirees have taken steps to stay healthy, but pre-retirees are more likely to mention exercising and changing their diet.
- Medicare is seen as a more important program than Medicaid in retirement among both retirees and pre-retirees.
- Pre-retirees and retirees differ in their views on the future of Medicare, but neither group wants a complete overhaul or major change to the program.
- A substantial minority of pre-retirees say they are likely to have trouble paying for health care in retirement, and a substantial minority of retirees says it has actually experienced many of these problems.
- While pre-retirees and retirees agree on many community characteristics that keep retirees healthy, retirees draw attention to drug store access and pre-retirees emphasize space for physical activity.
- Admission to a nursing home would worry most retirees and pre-retirees.
“A long, relatively healthy life”
My reactions: I’m 100 percent certain retirement will hold the greatest challenges of my life due to health issues. I’m not expecting to be the first person on earth who reverses the aging process. Yes, money is a formidable challenge for many of us, especially now—hence, no retirement any time soon. Oh, I know I should buy long-term care insurance, but exactly when should that be? About a nursing home: I break out in hives at the thought, and pray that when I need full-time care, more appealing options will exist for me and fellow boomers than are generally available now.
Jeff Goldsmith, author of The Long Baby Boom: An Optimistic Vision for a Graying Generation, told NPR that our boomer “optimism was drawn from a deep well of self-delusion.” He also didn’t beat around the bush about the inevitable: “We’re all going to have serious health problems in retirement, and eventually really serious health problems.”
I’ll choose optimism over pessimism any time, and in pursuit of that long, relatively healthy life, I’ll continue to mind my body as I help you Mind Your Body here.
(Photo courtesy: © Vanias | Dreamstime.com)