Trends in the Health of Older Americans Annual Summary: 2005
Harold Lentzner, Independent Researcher
Ellen A. Kramarow, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), CDC
James Lubitz, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), CDC
Yelena Gorina, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), CDC
This paper brings together trend data on the health and health care of older Americans from many sources, presenting a complex picture of the health status of older Americans. Results from national surveys provide evidence that their general health and physical functioning is improving, although there remain important differences between the sexes and across racial and ethnic groups. Obesity and sedentary lifestyles, however, remain major health risks for seniors. In general, both utilization of health care services and overall health expenditures have risen. Inpatient care has evolved; the average length of stay in hospital for major chronic conditions continues to decline, and restorative procedures are becoming a significant part of inpatient care. Formal home health assistance has become an important component of the health care system. We discuss and integrate these results to present a unified picture of the health of the older population.