'Americans getting older, better'

The face of America is changing and it is going to be considerably more wrinkled, according to a report.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 19:45 IST

The face of America is changing and it is going to be considerably more wrinkled, according to a report issued on Thursday.

The number of people 65 and over is expected to double within the next 25 years. By 2030, 72 million people, or nearly one out of every five Americans, will be 65 or older, according to the report from US Census Bureau and the National Institute on Aging.

"We are getting older," C Louis Kincannon, director of the US Census Bureau, told reporters in a telephone briefing.

"The boomers began turning 60 this year. In fact, nearly 8,000 people are now turning 60 every day. The aging of our society will have profound consequences on our future. We can expect a major wave of retirements starting in 2011."

But older people will also work longer, the report predicts.

"Companies will need to face the challenge of having to mobilize and retain older workers," said Kincannon.

Considerations will include ergonomic office equipment, "the lighting, the print size, all kinds of things that make it easier for people to continue to work," he said.

The good news is that it is not, as the Rolling Stones sang, such a drag getting old any more. "Today's older Americans are very different from their grandparents, living longer with lower rates of disability, with higher rates of education and garnering more wealth," Kincannon said.

While 14 million Americans over the age of 65 reported they were disabled in 2000, the proportion of people with a disability fell from 26.2 per cent in 1982 to 19.7 per cent in 1999. Most were linked to a chronic condition such as heart disease or arthritis.

But this trend may not continue. "We are seeing a very troubling increase in disability rates for younger Americans, partly driven by the epidemic of obesity," said Dr Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging.

First Published: Mar 10, 2006 01:01 IST