At the same time that Americans’ life expectancy is stalling, the age at which people can claim their full Social Security benefits is gradually moving up, from 65 for those retiring in 2002 to 67 in 2027. Almost one in three Americans age 65 to 69 is still working, along with almost one in five in their early 70s. Meanwhile, Americans in their late 50s already have more serious health problems than people at the same ages did 10 to 15 years ago, (Choi & Schoeni, 2017).
Researchers analyzed survey data to compare middle-age Americans’ health. A key measure is whether people have trouble with an “activity of daily living” (ADL), such as walking, dressing and bathing themselves, eating, or getting in or out of bed. The researchers observed that the number of middle-age Americans with ADL limitations has increased; 12.5% of Americans at the current retirement age of 66 had an ADL limitation in their late 50s, an increase from 8.8% for people with a retirement age of 65.
At the current retirement age of 66, 25% of Americans age 58 to 60 rated themselves in “poor” or “fair” health. That’s up 2.6% from the group who could retire with full benefits at 65, the researchers found.
Cognitive skills have also declined over time, according to the study. For those with a retirement age of 66, 11% already had some kind of dementia or other cognitive decline at age 58 to 60; an increase from 9.5% of Americans with a retirement age between 65 and 66.
While death rates can fluctuate from year to year, this study is being added to a growing body of evidence that suggests the health of Americans deteriorating.
Choi, H. and Schoeni, R. (2017). Health Of Americans Who Must Work Longer To Reach Social Security Retirement Age. Health Affairs, 36(10), pp.1815-1819. https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2017.0217
Society of Actuaries. (2017). Mortality Improvement Scale 2017. [online] Available at: https://www.soa.org/Files/Research/Exp-Study/mortality-improvement-scale-mp-2017.pdf [Accessed 28 Oct. 2017].
Steverman, B. (2017). Americans Are Retiring Later, Dying Sooner and Sicker In-Between. [online] Bloomberg.com. Available at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-23/americans-are-retiring-later-dying-sooner-and-sicker-in-between [Accessed 28 Oct. 2017].
This feed contains research, news, information, observations, and ideas at the level of self in an effort to address health concepts.