New research is showing that Baby Boomers are more likely to suffer some sort of debilitating disease than previous generations. They are living longer, but are not healthier. They don’t smoke so don’t have emphysema or the associated heart problems, but they are obese and may have diabetes and high blood pressure, one study indicated.
Another study more clearly identified the link between obesity and disabilities among the Baby Boom generation. Disability levels among the oldest generation (85 and older) declined, and those in the 65 to 84 group held steady. But, the disability levels for the younger Baby Boomers (ages 45-64) increased. Experts are worried that as this generation ages care costs and needs will rise dramatically. The most disturbing part to medical professionals is that there had been a steady decline in disabilities of older Americans during the 80s and 90s, but it was reversed around 2000.
Disabilities, in these studies, was described as the inability to carry out daily tasks such as shopping, cooking, managing money, and personal tasks such as bathing, dressing, and getting in or out of bed. The studies show only a small increase in disabilities in the pre-retirement group, but any increase at all is worrisome to healthcare and public policy professionals. The impact on families could be severe. When someone needs extra care it takes a toll on the other family members and can use up resources that might have gone to other needs or desires (such as education or retirement for a future generation).
The rise in obesity was deemed a major culprit in the rise of disabilities. Although the statistics did not place blame on only obesity, it seems to be a major cause of further problems that cause disabilities including stress on muscles and bones, and other disease states like diabetes.
There may be some good news though. One possibility noted by the researchers, is that the increase in disability may be due to better medical care for those suffering from disease states. Perhaps in the past those people did not survive to the current age range that is seeing an increase in disability. With better care, those who have disabilities or diseases are living longer and skewing the demographic results.
So, this is just one more medical study that tells us to watch our weight and to engage in healthy exercise and activity. It is important to take care of yourself to provide a better life (and to save money) in your later years. It is clear that one of the ways to reduce the chances of using up all of your money on Long Term Care needs is to get and stay healthy now!