Extended Life Expectancy Impacts Our Golden Years

| Thursday, March 24, 2011
By Janine Sanderstine

People in the USA are living much longer than ever before, according to the results of preliminary figures released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on March 17, 2011. The CDC reported that the death rate for the U.S. population for 2009 was 741 deaths per 100,000, which represents a 2.3% decrease from the 2008 rate.

In a statement by the center, it was stated that "this marks the tenth year in a row that the U.S. death rates have declined". Life expectancy rose slightly from 78 years in 2008 to 78.2 years in 2009, the center said. Death certificates from all 50 states were analyzed to get the data for the report.

During this same year, there was a 3.7% drop in heart disease, a 4.2% drop in strokes, a 4.1% drop in Alzheimer's disease, a 4.1% drop in diabetes, a 1.1% drop in cancer and deaths were down for this entire range of conditions. The agency speculates that better medical treatment, vaccination campaigns, and public health measures against smoking are likely driving these trends, and plans to more closely analyze the reasons for the decline when final data is released later this year.

No doubt about it, we will likely live longer lives than our parents and grandparents. Medicine has been improved due to the scientific advances made in recent years. Modern medicine can prevent or treat heart disease, diabetes, bacterial diseases and even cancer. Because of that, we'll all live longer on average. While these conditions may no longer killing us in the percentages that were the norm years ago, we now will live longer, increasing the odds that we will suffer additional ailments in our later years.

With the baby boomers now coming fully into the retirement age, it becomes easy to understand why we are now developing options that will allow us to live a full and creative life in our golden years. The time is now, and communities, businesses, families and friends are all devising alternatives for seniors that did not exist in the past.

Look into the adult education classes that are available locally. Everything from financial management, photography to crafts is offered specifically for seniors. The local parks and recreations department may also have a wealth of classes offered for seniors. Tai Chi, aerobics and even chair exercises are offered - there is something for every senior. These classes are geared for everyone from the very athletic senior to those with special needs. The classes offered meet the various needs of today's seniors. And don't forget to check out your local senior center. The opportunities for social and recreational activities are too numerous to mention.

Expanding the boundaries of your experiences and making new friends is an exciting part of your senior years. But, who will clean your home, do the yard work, do the grocery shopping and prepare the meals while you are taking advantage of all these opportunities? How will you manage if you are no longer able to drive or are impaired physically or mentally in any way?

Luckily, there are now a variety of senior living options available to you, depending on where you live. Assisted living facilities are now in every state and in most communities. Basic needs are provided in a secure environment. Assisted living facilities can often provide additional services with varying degrees of care, should you become ill or require additional help.

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