A Profile of Older Americans: 2003
Health and Health Care
In 2003, 38.6% of noninstitutionalized older persons assessed
their heath as excellent or very good (compared to 66.6% for
persons aged 18-64). There was little difference between the
sexes on this measure, but older African-Americans (57.7%) and
older Hispanics (60.5%) were less likely to rate their health
as excellent or good than were older Whites (75.4%).***** Most
older persons have at least one chronic condition and many have
multiple conditions. Among the most frequently occurring conditions
of elderly in 2000-2001 were: hypertension (49.2%), arthritic
symptoms (36.1%), all types of heart disease (31.1%), any cancer
(20.0), sinusitis (15.1%), and diabetes (15.0).
Almost 67% reported that they received an influenza vaccination
during the past 12 months and 55% reported that they had ever
received a pneumococcal vaccination. About 22% (of persons 60+)
report height/weight combinations that place them among the obese.
Over 27% of persons aged 65-74 and 17% of persons 75+ report
that they engage in regular leisure-time physical activity. Only
9% reported that they are current smokers and only 4% reported
excessive alcohol consumption. Only 2.5% reported that they had
experienced psychological distress during the past 30 days.
In 2002, over 12.5 million persons aged
65 and older were discharged from hospitals. This is a rate
of 3,549 for every 10,000 persons
aged 65+ which is more than three times the comparable rate for
persons aged 45-64 (which was 1,121 per 10,000). The average
length of stay for persons aged 65+ was 5.8 days; the comparable
rate for persons aged 45-64 was 5.0 days. The average length
of stay for older people has decreased almost 5 days since 1980.
Older persons averaged more office visits with doctors in 2001 – 6.2
for those aged 65-74 and 7.4 for persons over 75 while persons
aged 45-65 averaged only 3.8 office visits during that year.
Almost 97% of older persons reported that they did have a usual
place to go for medical care and only 2.5% said
that they failed to obtain needed medical care during the previous
12 months due to financial barriers.
In 2002, older consumers averaged $3,586 in out-of-pocket health
care expenditures, an increase of 45% since 1992. In contrast,
the total population spent considerably less, averaging $2,350
in out-of-pocket costs. Older Americans spent 12.8%of their total
expenditures on health, more than twice the proportion spent
by all consumers (5.8%). Health costs incurred on average by
older consumers in 2001 consisted of $1,886 (53%) for insurance,
$955 (27%) for drugs, $582 (16%) for medical services, and $163
(5%) for medical supplies.
Health United States: 2003; Advanced Data From Vital and Health
Statistics and other data releases from the National
Center for Health Statistics website; and the Bureau of Labor