Tags: aging | boomers | health

More Boomers Aging Alone

Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012 11:37 AM


A new study has found a growing number of greying baby boomers – as many as one in three – are entering old age unmarried or otherwise alone, which may compound age-related medical problems expected to put pressure on the nation’s health-care system in coming decades.
The new health statistics come from Bowling Green State University's National Center for Family and Marriage Research and paint what researchers dubbed “a bleak future for the largest generation in history, the baby boomers, as they cross into old age.”
Analyzing records from the 1980, 1990 and 2000 censuses and the 2009 round of the American Community Survey, researchers found one-third of adults aged 45-63 are unmarried. That’s 50 percent increase since 1980, when just 20 percent of middle-aged Americans were unmarried.
Most single boomers are divorced or never married. In fact, one in three single baby boomers has never been married. Just 10 percent of unmarried boomers are widowed.
"The shift in marital composition of the middle-aged suggests that researchers and policymakers can no longer focus on widowhood in later life and should pay attention to the vulnerabilities of the never-married and divorced as well," said lead researcher Dr. I-Fen Lin.
According to co-researcher Dr. Susan Brown, one in five single baby boomers is living in poverty compared to one in 20 for their married counterparts. Single boomers are also twice as likely to be disabled, and less likely to have health insurance.Even divorced boomers have more economic resources and better health than their widowed or never-married peers, researchers noted.
"The economic and health vulnerabilities of single boomers are concerning because boomers are now moving into old age when failing health becomes even more common and severe," said Brown. "In the past, family members, particularly spouses, have provided care to infirm older adults. But a growing share of older adults aren't going to have a spouse available to rely on for support.”


© HealthDay

   
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One-third of boomers are entering old age single, which may compound health problems.
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2012-37-18
Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012 11:37 AM
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