A new report from the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics offers a snapshot of the status of seniors. While it’s based on data from 2009 (the latest available) and may not fully capture the impact of the economic downturn, health reporter Judith Graham says things are looking up for many seniors. She observes:
About 40 percent of older adults pay upward of 30 percent of their income for housing and utilities. This is a substantial economic burden, and it speaks to a relative dearth of affordable housing for seniors.
Health and health care continue to be a challenge. Some sobering statistics:
Obesity can lead to diabetes, a leading cause of retinopathy and glaucoma.
“The trends in vision impairment and blindness, particularly among people 40 and older, are alarming,” EyeSight Foundation Executive Director Torrey DeKeyser said. “The nation has seen an increase of 23 percent since 2000 in this age group and the predictions for that trend to continue are sobering, particularly in Alabama which has such a high incidence of diabetes, a leading cause of retinopathy and glaucoma.”
A recent census by University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers finds that there’s a looming shortage of eye care providers statewide.
Alabama’s elderly population (13.8%) is higher than the national average (13%) and this year’s Alabama State Plan on Aging projects it will grow dramatically in the next two decades. That has serious implications for the state’s health and long-term care industries.