Do most older adults consider their health to be good?
Yes. The majority of older adults perceive their health to be good to excellent, as they do not compare their current condition to former states, but rather to their peers that are their ages and older who may be "worse off." These "ratings" are not a medical assessment. While chronic disease, frailty and disability are correlated with advanced age, the Myths and Realities 2000 study discovered that 84% of all Americans would like to live to 90 years and half of persons over 65 years described their lives as "the best years of my life." Disease and disability are being delayed and functional levels are improving, especially in persons over 80 years. Less than 10% of non-institutionalized persons 70 years and over are unable to perform one or more activities of daily living (ADLs). Disability does increase to 22% for those 85 years and older.
Linda Breytspraak, Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Monday, July 07, 2008