Have Americans Reached a New Era of Optimism about Aging?

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With 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day – and according to new research released today, a majority of them expect to live to nearly 90 – the celebration of older Americans is a developing trend, and more people are aspiring to live longer and better than ever before.

“We all have one thing in common – each day we get older. At every age and stage of our lives, we can make choices and take actions that will help us live longer and better. There are so many positive role models today who are changing how people think about aging," said Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, Pfizer’s Chief Medical Officer. "There’s a huge opportunity to support the shift that’s underway. At GetOld.com, we want to hear what people want and need to live better and healthier and create a forum for dialogue on what it means to ‘get old’ today.”As part of Pfizer’s mission to improve the health and well-being of people at every stage of life, the company is launching Get Old, a multi-year initiative supported by nearly a dozen advocacy organizations. The goal of Get Old is to amplify the conversation on aging and learn more about how Americans at all ages are tackling aging for themselves, their family and society. At the center of the initiative is a first-of-its-kind online community, GetOld.com, where people can get and share information, add to the dialogue and contribute to the growing body of knowledge about this important topic. This critical information will help inform the unmet needs related to aging and what role the company and its partners can play to help people live longer and better lives.

The latest research conducted as part of the Get Old initiative asked more than 1,000 Americans, who are 18 to 65+ years old, about how they feel about getting old. The results show that priorities and perceptions about aging shift over time.

Key findings include:

>>More of those over 50 (41 percent) said they were “optimistic” about getting old as compared with “uneasy”, “angry” or “prepared”

>>Those who feel aging is better than expected cite good health (74 percent), wisdom (72 percent) and greater appreciation for friends and family (72 percent) as the top reasons

>>51 percent of all people surveyed think they look younger than their age, and 40 percent of all people think they are wiser than their age

>>Given a list of lifetime achievements, those 18 to 34 (45 percent) rank having $1 million first, while those over 65 would rather see their grandchild graduate (48 percent)

>>64 percent of those over 65 are more afraid of losing independence or living with pain or physical limitations than of dying (7 percent)

>>Only 25 percent of those over 65 would want to live with a younger relative if they could no longer care for themselves, despite the fact that 51 percent of those 18 to 65 would accept having a parent live with them

>>More respondents (33 percent) believe that people who live in rural areas age better than those living in urban areas (7 percent)

>>“Everyone brings a different perspective to the aging process. For many who face enormous health challenges, aging can be a source of dread,” said Andy Carter, President and CEO of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America. “For others who are healthier or managing chronic conditions effectively, it is a positive experience. At the VNAA, we recognize the importance of engaging in this conversation as a way to shape our future programs and services to best serve the needs of all aging Americans.”

Join the Get Old Conversation

With the support of leading organizations Easter Seals, International Longevity Center at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, Men’s Health Network, National Alliance for Caregiving, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, National Consumers League, National Family Caregivers Association, Patient Advocate Foundation, Society for Women’s Health Research, Visiting Nurse Associations of America and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, Pfizer is asking people to join the conversation about aging to help add to the ever-growing body of knowledge and insights about this important topic.

GetOld.com is unique in that it is allows people of all ages to discuss aging by sharing and viewing stories, photos, and videos about getting old, and the site provides people the opportunity to vote on how they feel about aging: Angry, Uneasy, Optimistic or Prepared. Current content – which may help address issues from the stress associated with caring for aging family members to the life perspective gained after facing serious illness – includes information from leading experts, partner groups and everyday people who are interested in joining the conversation.

In addition to the site, people can join the Get Old Facebook community at facebook.com/GetOld or participate via Twitter at twitter.com/GetOld.