NIA Report Shows Changes in Aging Trends
The face of aging in the U.S. is changing dramatically and rapidly according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, commissioned by the National Institute on Aging.
Akinso: The face of aging in the U.S. is changing dramatically and rapidly according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, commissioned by the National Institute on Aging. The report "65 + in the United States: 2005", prepared by the NIA, provided a picture of health and socioeconomic status of the aging population at a critical time in the maturing of the U.S. It was found that today's older Americans, particularly 65 and over, are very different from their predecessors, by living longer, having lower rates of disability, achieving higher levels of education and less often living in poverty. NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes discussed the highlights of the report during a recent teleconference.
Hodes: We regard it as important in a variety of dimensions. One, perhaps the most apparent, is that the American population is very much interested in understanding itself. Secondly, the data assembled here are critical for policy generation in the country, policies that are maximizing support for health and well-being of an aging American population. And thirdly, and also central to the mission of the National Institute on Aging and the National Institutes of Health in general, is a degree in which some of the findings here, inform, and I must say in the most optimistic way our prospects for working to improve the health and well-being of an older population. So we have learned for example, contrary to fears some years ago, that the rates of disability in older Americans have been decreasing notably over the past decade. Rather than facing an inevitability of increased disability in an older population, we rather understand that the course of life is mutable not immutable. And that we have the opportunity to invoke and plan for change that will improve further and in fact accelerate, we hope, the decrease in disability that we see.
Akinso: The report is a project of the NIA's Behavioral and Social Research Program, which supports the collection and analysis of data in several national and international studies on health, retirement, and aging. If you would like to view the report and see the other trends visit www.census.gov. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Richard Hodes