Struggle with obesity isn't just a health issue, it's a retirement issue
Boomers have taken a number of healthy steps, for instance their parents’ generation was more likely to smoke and thus more likely to have emphysema and heart attacks. But a new study found that Boomers were more likely to struggle with obesity and disability than their older counterparts.
The study in the journal Demography, found disability increased in the period between 2000 and 2008 amongst Baby Boomers while during the same time frame, the oldest group (85+) saw disability levels decline and seniors age 65 to 84 held steady. The study identified a link between obesity and disability. The authors considered disabilities that interfered with a participant’s ability to handle independently activities of daily living such as managing money, cooking meals, or shopping.
One area the study found particularly disturbing was the number of people with mobility issues. About 40 percent of respondents found it difficult to walk one-quarter mile, climb 10 steps without resting, lift and carry 10 pounds or perform other physical activities. Mobility issues are a significant problem for people planning on aging-in place in their current home.
For one thing, public transportation has taken a tremendous hit across the country as we have watched those budgets erode during the Great Recession. That leaves driving a personal vehicle (an iffy possibility as we age) and walking. A 2004 study found that more than 50 percent of non-drivers age 65 and older stayed home on any given day partially because they lacked transportation options. While this is a two-fold problem (too many communities lack safe walking and bicycling environments or public transportation options) that isn’t exclusively about the physical mobility of individuals, the problem becomes exacerbated when options become limited due to the size or mobility of the individual.
How do you plan on remaining a vibrant and involved member of society as you age? Here are some suggestions for getting by without driving but you’ll quickly see that staying healthy is the best option for being able to control retirement costs and continuing to live independently.