By 2030, the number of Americans age 65 and over is projected to be about 71.5 million, of which nearly 10 million will be at least 85. Recent research has also shown that most older Americans today report better health than older cohorts did in the past.
As more people are living longer, more individuals can expect to spend more time in retirement than those in previous generations did. And even though older Americans tend to live longer and healthier lives than previous generations, many adults in midlife fail to commit to healthy routines that will affect their health later in life. Research has established the physical and mental advantages of a consistent exercise regimen. Screening programs can lead to preventive measures and early treatment interventions, which can substantially reduce the later impact of illnesses. Nutrition also influences the progression of many diseases, and research has demonstrated that good nutrition habits can reduce the length of a later hospital stays.
Assessments of the quality of life of older individuals tend to focus health and finance, but second and third careers, lifelong learning, leisure pursuits, voluntary work, and caregiving can also contribute, positively or negatively, to future quality of life.