This year the baby boomer generation turns 65 and while they may think of themselves as forever young research indicates that they are actually aging faster and are less healthy than their parent’s generation. Here are just a few of the health issues facing our latest demographic to reach their golden years.
Chronic Illness and Obesity
40% of baby boomers are now classified as obese and chronic disease and loss of mobility are on the rise. Half of all baby boomers have high blood pressure and incidents of weight related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer are all much higher than the previous generations. The extra weight is taking a toll on joint health as well; 30% of boomers have been diagnosed with arthritis.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Baby boomers are still getting busy. With the advent of medications like Cialis, Levitra and Viagra people are staying sexually active into their 90’s but with age does not always come wisdom. Research has shown that men over 50 are far less inclined to use condoms than younger men. Even when sleeping with someone they just met only about 20% of baby boomers are using protection. Since pregnancy stops being an issue after a certain age many think condoms aren’t necessary but with STD’s on the rise many need to rethink this position. According to the CDC about 25% of all AIDs patients are over the age of 50 and HIV, syphilis and chlamydia are all on the rise so it’s just as vital for baby boomers to get tested for STDs on a regular basis as it is for sexually active young adults.
With their parent’s generation living longer than ever before and their children’s generation plagued by hard economic times 20% of baby boomers are still taking on the financial burden for either an elderly parent or adult child. Other baby boomers waited until they were older to have children and now find themselves facing retirement while still financially supporting their children. These extra responsibilities can be a real financial and emotional burden. With resources being limited many baby boomers are unsure how they will be able to retire and make ends meet.
Limited Access to Health Care
Baby boomers are having to get by on a lot less than their parents generation did when it comes to retirement and as they hit 65 most will turn to programs like Medicare for health insurance. These programs are already struggling under ever increasing health care costs and will be unsustainable under the expected surge in enrollment. On top of worries over basic medical coverage most baby boomers are entering retirement with little or no saving thanks to a poor housing market and economy.
Unfortunately things are looking a little grim for the aging baby boomer generation. Between the rise in chronic disease and obesity and the loss of financial security life today is a far cry from the optimism many experienced in the 60’s. Unless social programs are overhauled or the economy does a 180 many boomers will find themselves going back to work or going without.