Helping a Family Member

How people experience aging depends on a variety of factors, including social and
economic characteristics as well as health status.

12% of the population in the United States are age 65 or older, with the number of centenarians (100 years of age and older).  About 80% of our centenarians are women.

Disability among the older population is declining.  Studies over the past two decades have revealed substantial declines in the rates of disability and functional limitation.

Senior DemographicsPX123

  • 43% of householders are 65 and over and are  married
  • 46% of people ages 62-75 provide some form of assistance to their adult children
  • 55% of grandparents are contributing financially to their grandchildren’s education
  • 9 million seniors over the age of 65 were military veterans in 2007.
  • 5.8 million people 65 and older who were in the labor force in 2007, Projections indicate that by 2016, the number will reach 10.1 million

Senior Population Increase

  • 37.9 Million people were over the age of 65 in July of 2007
  • In 2008 there showed a record ~120,000 reverse mortgages, which is an increase of 77% over the year before which produced 76,351 reverse mortgages
  • Projected worldwide population of people 65 and older are to reach 518 million by 2009-now! And 1.6 billion by 2050.

Population Explosion

  • By the year 2010 we are expected to have 97 million aged 55 and over

Desires of people 60 an older

  • 22% of people 60 + want to live to be 100
  • Aged 60 and older:
  • 90% want to take better care of their health
  • 80% want to spend more time with loved ones
  • 72% plan on spending time on hobbies
  • 37% plan to work until they pass away

Income Levels

  • The median family income for seniors age 65+ was $28,305 reported in 2007.
  • Social Security continues to provide the largest share of income for many older people
  • Poverty rate in 2007 was at 9.7% for people over the age of 65 which equals 3.6 million seniors!

Aged Housing

  • More than 80% of householders aged 65%  and over own their own homes versus 42% for the younger generation below age 35.

Seniors in our Communities

  • Older people who lived alone had the highest poverty rates.
  • Older Hispanic and Black women who live alone experience the highest poverty rates (40%)

Thoughts on Independent Living

More and more research shows that to live independently in their own homes is of paramount importance to older Americans.  But you and your parents may have different ideas of what this means.  For your own peace of mind and for the well being of your parents, it’s important to plan for the future by talking about the kind of help they’ll need or want-in order to be comfortable in their homes.  Here are ten things you should know to make the conversation easy and effective.

  1. Be positive. Try broaching the subject when things are going well in your parent’s life, rather than a time of stress or in response to a problem or incident.  Allow your parents to make their own choices and resist the temptation to push issues unless their health or safety is in jeopardy.
  2. Ask for help. Ask Mom and/ or Dad  to help you understand what’s important to them and what kinds of assistance they would like to help them stay in their homes as long as possible.
  3. Make it easier for your parent to accept help. Talk to your parent about your experience, or that of a friends or relative, in asking for help.  Show understanding about how hard it is sometimes for all of us to ask assistance from others.
  4. Focus on them.  Focus on your parents needs, desires and worries about their current and future living situation.  Ask them how they feel about climbing the stairs, or if they have concerns about other possible safety hazards in the home.  Talk about modifications that can be made to make them more comfortable.
  5. Ask about daily activities. Find out what your parent would like help with the most.  Is it the cooking?  Cleaning?  Yard Work?  Transportation?  Ask them if anything about their current situation detracts from their enjoyment of daily activities.
  6. Know the status of their health.   Ask your parents about any health problems they have and ascertain their ability to manage daily health care.  How often do they fill prescriptions?  Are they having any problems taking their medication as directed?  Can they afford the medications that they need?
  7. Make sure they can pay their expenses.  It may be difficult to “butt into” a parent’s finances, however, it is important to know if they can afford to pay bills, eat well and take advantage of the things that bring joy into their lives.
  8. Find out how your parents get around.  Ask your parent how they get around on a typical day.  Do they drive or take a bus?  Are they getting rides with friends or are they walking?  Knowing how your parents travel can help you help them find the best ways to get where they want to go safely.
  9. Research community resources.  Check out transportation, meal or home care services that are readily available to make it possible for your parent to remain independent.
  10. Compare costs and services.  compare the costs and benefits of remaining in the home with that of Assisted Living Centers or Continuing Care Retirement Communities.  Many of these are viable alternatives to remaining in the home.



Source: Census Bureau 2009