Seniors’ financial confidence is on the rise compared to previous years, but many say true happiness lies elsewhere, suggests the latest United States of Aging Survey.
The results of the 2014 survey were released at the 39th Annual n4a Conference & Tradeshow in Dallas as part of a larger effort led by n4a, NCOA, UnitedHealthcare and USA TODAY to examine seniors’ attitudes on a range of issues such as health, finances and community support.
Today, seniors—adults age 60 and older—are increasingly confident in their financial stability this year compared to 2013 and 2012 with 69% finding it easy to pay monthly bills in 2014—the latest in a continuing upward trend from 64% in 2012 and 66% in 2013.
Although finances are often a focus during retirement years, seniors rank them among the least important factors driving their optimism. Only 5% of individuals surveyed said being financially secure is the key to a positive outlook on life, while 25%—the largest share—attributed their optimism to faith and spirituality.
“More Americans are living longer lives than ever before,” stated Rhonda Randall, D.O., chief medical officer at UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions. “It is highly encouraging to see more older Americans taking charge of how they age, making deliberate choices and setting goals to help themselves live healthier and more independently during their senior years.”
There are, however, remaining concerns for the future, particularly in the costs associated with funding their retirement, healthcare and long-term care.
Healthcare costs were of chief concern among seniors, with 64% expecting increases in this sector to continue in the next five to 10 years. Additionally, 41% expressed concern about being able to afford a licensed caregiver as they age, while 39% are worried about being able to afford nursing home care.
The ability to age in place also remained a critical priority for 77% of seniors who said they want to live independently in their current homes for the rest of their lives, but certain community services and supports are needed to make this possible.
Among the top services seniors say they will need help with as they age are home maintenance (40%), transportation (39%) and long-term care (36%).
While more than half of seniors (59%) say transportation support currently provided by their community is adequate, only 22% feel the same way about home maintenance, which the survey suggests is the most crucial component to enabling more older adults to age in place.
“The findings show that seniors are moving in the right direction with their health, bur there is still room for improvement,” stated James Firman, president and CEO of NCOA. “Building upon this trend and getting even more Boomers and older adults to take these simple steps are key to creating a healthier and more productive society.”
View the full United States of Aging Survey.
Written by Jason Oliva