Monday, August 19, 2013

Are We Really Getting Sicker as We Age?

Even though we’re living longer than ever, the prevalence of major diseases among the elderly has held relatively steady.

 

Americans are living longer—which means we’re all going to be stuck with ever-increasing medical bills for the growing ranks of the elderly, right? Though many analysts think so, a new study says that may not be the case. A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research concludes that disease rates are being “compressed” into the last year or two before death. That means we’re living longer, but also living healthier in our advanced years up until the last year of life. If that’s true, then the aging of the baby boomers may not be the Medicare budget-buster that many fear.

As the authors point out, medical spending for relatively healthy seniors is modest, while spending on seniors disabled by chronic illness can be stratospheric. So it was cause for concern when earlier studies by groups like the American Hospital Association and the United Health Foundation found seniors were increasingly sick.

For the rest of the story: http://www.psmag.com/health/are-we-really-getting-sicker-as-we-age-64565/

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