Is Kansas City Ready For An Aging Population? New Local Survey Reveals Kansas City-Area Residents Concerned About Their City And Themselves As They Get Old; New Website, “By The Decades” Healthy Aging Checklist And Aging Communities Toolkit Offers Help
More than eight out of ten people who live in the Kansas City area believe they will live a long life, but less than one-third of Kansas City -area residents feel their community is very prepared to support an aging population. And while more than two-thirds of Kansas City-area residents think the quality of life for seniors is better now than in the past, there is an overall feeling of unpreparedness around Kansas City-area infrastructure, according to a new survey commissioned by Pfizer, Inc. and Generations United, an intergenerational advocacy organization. The general feeling of lack of preparedness is seen across all generations – from Millennials to the Greatest Generation. With more than 10,000 people expected to turn 65 every day through 2030, community concerns reflected in the survey centered on inadequate transportation, housing and caregiving for older people. Only a small portion of respondents feel their communities are very equipped in terms of healthcare facilities, home caregiving, transportation, and housing for older people.
Aging well means living in a community prepared to support people as they age. But 41 percent of respondents feel the Kansas City area is not at all prepared to provide appropriate employment opportunities for an aging population and one-third of respondents feel being old is something to fear. On a more positive note, 70 percent of survey respondents believe that people who work past retirement age stay healthier longer and are happier.
“While we’ve seen many improvements in our society for aging populations in recent years, there are still many hurdles that need to be overcome,” says Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, Chief Medical Officer for Pfizer. “Improvement starts with coming together to redefine how we want to get old individually and in our communities.”
Chronic diseases are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and according to the World Health Organization, eliminating three risk factors – poor diet, inactivity and smoking – would prevent 80% of heart disease and stroke, 80% of type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancers. Indicating an awareness of the importance of healthy choices, only 43 percent of Kansas City-area residents are very comfortable with their current physical health although 73 percent are generally comfortable with their current age. Less than half (44%) are also very comfortable about their future and just 46% are very comfortable with getting older in general. Interestingly, more Kansas City -area residents feel comfortable telling people their age (78%) than talking about politics (42%) or religion (57%).
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