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50 Fascinating Aging Facts for Older Americans Month

Aging is an inevitable part of living, and can be fascinating for people of any age. Lives change, minds and bodies change, and time goes on. Here we will take a look at 50 interesting facts about aging in honor of Older Americans Month.


Aging Americans are an important part of the population-learn about their impact here.

  1. The over 65 population should reach 86.7 million: Estimates put the 65+ population at 86.7 by 2050.
  2. Life expectancy is increasing at a faster rate: Between 1900 and 1960, life expectancy increased by 2.4 years, but since 1960, it has increased by 3.5 years.
  3. The older population is nearly 40 million strong: In 2009, there were 39.6 million people aged 65 and older.
  4. Minorities make up almost half of the older population: 42% of people 65 and older in the US are part of minority groups.
  5. Many elderly are poor or close to it: 16.8% of the elderly in America are poor or near poor.
  6. There are more people over age 60 than under 15: Those over age 60 outnumber those under 15.
  7. The elderly are the fastest growing age group: The US Census Bureau indicates that individuals 85 and up are the fastest growing age group by percentage.

Societal Contributions

Growing older doesn’t have to mean shrinking away from society, as evidenced by these facts.

  1. The elderly make about $30,000 per year: $31,354 is the median 2009 income for those 65 and older.
  2. 3.7 million older Americans worked in 1998: Older Americans made up 2.8% of the US labor force in 1998.
  3. Poets, philosophers, and writers can create at a late age: Emmanuel Kant published his greatest works between 60 and 80.
  4. About half of the employed elderly work full time: Of those who are working past 65, 55% work full time.
  5. There are 9 million elderly veterans: The number of 65+ veterans is estimated to be about 9 million.
  6. Workers 45 and up are unemployed longer: Middle aged workers will stay unemployed longer than younger workers.
  7. 15 million older persons volunteer: Nearly half of all adults 65 and older volunteer in some form.
  8. The elderly vote more than any other age group: 70% of citizens 65 and older voted in 2008, with the highest turnout rate of any age group.
  9. There are millions of elderly in the labor force: In 2009, there were 6.5 million people 65 and older in the labor force, and that number should reach 11.1 million by 2018.


For some, getting older means relying on family and other sources of caregiving.

  1. Nursing home care costs $60,000: It costs more than $60,000 per patient for nursing home care for a year.
  2. A quarter of households are involved in caregiving: One in four households will care for a loved one aged 50 and older.
  3. Caregivers face health risks: Unpaid caregivers often have high stress, reduced immunity, and heart disease.
  4. Most elderly live with relatives: 66% of people aged 65+ live with relatives.
  5. Most elderly persons will need some type of long term care: The US Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging estimates that 70% of all people 65 and up will need long term care services in their lifetime.
  6. Unpaid caregivers make up 90% of long term care: Most long term caregivers are unpaid, and 83% are family members, friends, and neighbors.

Mental Health

These facts take a look at Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other mental afflictions affecting older Americans.

  1. Alzheimer’s affects millions: In the US alone, Alzheimer’s disease effects an estimated four million people.
  2. 20% of older Americans suffer from depression: Older adults experience depression at twice the rate of younger adults.
  3. Treatment for depression in the elderly is low: Although nearly 20% of the older population experiences depression, only 3% get treatment.
  4. Your brain never stops growing: We grow new neurons with time, and the brain is constantly reshaping itself in response to learning.
  5. As you get older, you get happier Many people report that they feel more content as they age.
  6. Alzheimer’s is spreading rapidly: Every 70 seconds, a person in America develops Alzheimer’s.
  7. Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s: More women will develop Alzheimer’s than men, and it’s believed this is because women tend to live longer.
  8. Being cautiously optimistic is healthy: Being too cheerful or optimistic can lead to an inability to cope, and a risk factor for premature death.
  9. Staying in school can save your brain: The longer you remain a student, the better you’ll be to fight of dementia.
  10. Seniors need just as much sleep as others: Seniors have to sleep as much as younger adults, but it may be harder for seniors to get enough sleep.

Physical Health

Learn about the potential for physical health as you age from these facts.

  1. Physical efficiency reaches its peak in the mid-20s: Efficiency increases from birth to the middle of your 20s.
  2. Seniors can exercise: Despite the common misconception that aging means physical inactivity, seniors are capable of exercising, and it’s great for health and wellbeing.
  3. Every breath ages you from the inside: Some oxygen molecules degrade into free radicals, which causes your body to rust from the inside.
  4. 18.2% of elderly have diabetes: In 2006, 18.2% of adults 65 and up reported a diabetes diagnosis.
  5. Most 65+ adults got a flu shot: 75% of adults 65 and older got a flu shot in the past 12 months.
  6. 66% of individuals 75 or older are in good health: Only 34% report fair or poor health at 75 or older.
  7. Negative thinking can cause problems: Elderly people who worry about falling over tend to fall over more often that those who don’t.
  8. Elderly drivers often have fewer accidents: Despite popular belief, drivers over 65 have fewer accidents per person than those under 65.
  9. Soda kills at any age: Phosphate, found in soda, caused mice to age faster.
  10. Chronic inflammation accelerates aging: Those who experienced high levels of infection-related inflammation as children die earlier and age faster.
  11. A negative childhood can shorten your life: Those who faced trauma as a child will typically age earlier than those who didn’t.

Living Longer

You can stretch your lifespan by taking these facts to heart.

  1. Exercise is key to successful aging: Physical fitness is at the crux of successful aging.
  2. Working past retirement can keep you alive: Many long lived professionals keep working after retirement age, even if it’s just part time.
  3. Women live longer than men: Women can generally expect to live longer than men.
  4. Conscientious people live longer: Being persistent, working hard, and a little obsessive is the secret to long life.
  5. A happy marriage can save your life: People living in happy marriages tend to live longer, but getting rid of a troublesome spouse can also have a positive effect on your longevity.
  6. HGH can be dangerous: HGH can give you a more youthful appearance, but when not used properly, can cause cancer cells to grow and spread faster.
  7. You can’t get enough reservatrol from wine: Reservatrol, found in wine, can slow the aging process, but wine does not contain enough to make a difference.

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