Stats to track for senior health
As we get older, health problems can snowball. "The challenge in geriatrics is that we're often dealing with a combination of age-related diseases," says Dr. Jeffrey B. Halter, director of the highly rated University of Michigan Geriatrics Center. Here are some stats to help you grow wiser with age:
13.5 — Percent of seniors requiring home health care who suffer from major depression, compared with 1 to 5 percent of independent seniors. Advise your doctor if you have signs of depression, such as sadness, fatigue or social withdrawal.
20 to 30 — Number of minutes - three times a week - seniors should exercise, albeit walking, weights or yoga. Despite proven health benefits, Halter, 65 - who works out six days a week - says it's no easy sell: "A patient has to really want to do it."
$274 billion — Approximate amount boomers are expected to spend on anti-aging products and services in 2013, up from $162 billion spent in 2008.
80 — By this age, a person's height will have decreased by 2 inches on average. This happens as our spine shortens - likely from water loss in soft tissues and decreasing bone mass due to osteoporosis, Halter says.
2 — Leading causes of death in seniors: heart disease and cancer. Together, these account for more deaths than all other causes combined.
Sources: The AGS Foundation for Health in Aging; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institute of Mental Health; BCC Research.