West Health Institute/NORC Survey on Aging in America

​A new study from the West Health Institute (WHI)extlink and NORC at the University of Chicago finds that most Americans over the age of 30 believe the country is not well prepared to address the healthcare and social support needs of the country’s fast growing senior population. The majority of adults age 30 and older say the country is heading in the wrong direction when it comes to providing healthcare and social service support to seniors.

The study also reveals that when it comes to the aging experience, the public worries most about developing memory problems, facing health and financial issues and losing independence. For most adults, signs of old age are less about turning a specific age and more about maintaining independence and being able to take care of themselves. More than half of Americans over 30 report being mostly or somewhat optimistic about aging, and optimism is greatest among older adults.

The nationally representative survey of 3,026 adults was funded by WHI and used AmeriSpeak® , the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Interviews were conducted between September 19 and October 21, 2016, online and using landlines and cell phones.

Two separate reports detail the findings from the 2016 survey from WHI and NORC at the University of Chicago.

The first report, entitled Perceptions of Aging During Each Decade of Life After 30, shows that 70 percent of adults 30 and older feel the country is not prepared for the rapid growth of its senior population. In addition, the results illustrate that losing one’s memory, not having financial security and developing health issues are top concerns about aging whether people are in their 30s or 60s.

The second report, entitled New Insights into America’s Views on Aging Successfully: Who Will Help an Aging America Stay Independent and Healthy? finds that older adults are more likely than younger adults to have positive views of the healthcare system and government programs for seniors. The results show that more than 7 in 10 Americans say it’s important that seniors have access to healthcare services, dental care, healthy food, affordable housing and transportation, but fewer than half say their communities are doing a good job in these areas.