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Longevity: Elderly Americans Are Living Longer, Healthier Lives

Elderly woman

Americans are living to be older, healthier, and more financially prosperous, according to some newly released age stats by the federal government.

The study took information from Americans over 65 years old, claiming that today’s 65-year-olds can expect to live a bit more than 20 more years. In comparison to the 14 years more in 1980, that’s pretty big. One of the biggest contributors to this is that death from heart disease and stroke have dropped by almost 50 percent.

While this is a great accomplishment, there is still 12 other nations with even higher life expectancies, such as Japan, where seniors have about 89 expected years of life. In 1980, Japan and the United States were about the same.

Aside from these physical improvements, Americans over 65 are also doing better financially. Over the past few decades, the “poor” class – which lives on less than $10,458 a year – fell from 15 percent to 9 percent. High income levels – measured as higher than $41,832 – increased from 18 to 31 percent in that time frame. This is largely due to more Americans in the workforce, particularly women. Nowadays, it’s also not uncommon to see a 65 year old still working just as hard as they were 25 years ago.

The physical abilities of American elders is something worth acknowledging, too. Twenty years ago, almost half of Americans over 65 had difficulty walking, dressing, bathing, and performing other basic chores. Today, that has dropped to 41 percent. Considering that only 11 percent of those studied claim to get the recommended amounts of exercise, that number has the potential to drop even more. On another incredible note, only 4 percent of Americans over 65 are in nursing homes, a number that hasn’t changed much over the last few decades.

This is very encouraging to read, and if younger generations adapt good diet and exercise habits, and medicine advances further, there’s no telling what our life expectancy could be in another 20 years.

Could living to be 100 one day become the norm? It doesn’t seem too far out of reach.

Image CC licensed by Tazrian Khan

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