When people think of the U.S. state of California, they probably think of Hollywood, DisneyLand, sandy beaches, and a generally young population. Compared to much of the rest of the U.S., this is true. California is considered to be a “young” state— even though 13 million residents are over the age of 50. California has a population of over 39 million people, meaning that only about 33% of the population is over the age of 50 (compared to more than 35% of the U.S. population.
Even though California is considered a young state, senior citizens (defined as those 62 and older in California) mustn’t be forgotten. Here’s a look at some senior statistics in California, compared to the rest of the U.S.
Health and Nutrition
California is one of the healthiest states in the U.S., with a mortality rate of less than 6,000 per 100,000 people. According to the CDC (2017), the top three leading causes of death in California are heart disease, cancer, and stroke, with California ranking 40th, 45th, and 24th, respectively. This is good news since the risk of these diseases increases with age.
However, just because California ranks lower on these lists doesn’t mean that everyone living in the state is healthy. It’s still important to eat a nutritious diet and engage in physical activity— which is something that many Californians of all ages are conscious of.
Speaking of physical activity, in 2017, over 70% of adults in California met the physical activity recommendations (at least 150 minutes of exercise per week), according to Let’s Get Healthy California. This is very good, compared to only about 47% of all adults in the United States as a whole. These statistics mean that adults in California are less likely to experience some of the age-related issues that many adults in the U.S. will and are currently facing.
Lack of exercise and physical activity can lead to weaker bones, joints, and muscles, which increases the risk of senior falls. About 36 million senior citizens are treated for falls each year, with some results being fractures, broken bones, and even death. Both a fall and a lack of physical activity can result in decreased mobility.
Decreased mobility brings us to our next point: senior living arrangements. All over the U.S., the majority of seniors prefer independent living, or more specifically, aging in place. Aging in place means that a person remains in their home as they continue to age, as opposed to moving into an assisted living facility. Seniors who have retained most of their mobility, have little to no manageable health issues and have a home free of falling hazards age in place successfully.
California has more than 1,400 independent living facilities, which are also known as retirement homes. These homes are rented to adults aged 55 and up at an average of about $2,475 per month. Independent living is the closest h to Inc to aging in place, and some seniors may choose this option if their home isn’t safe for them to live in, or if they want to be closer to those around their age. Independent housing units are usually in the form of apartments, duplexes, or condos.
Assisted living facilities are those that provide round-the-clock care to their residents. California has more than 4,500 assisted living facilities, including nursing homes. Unfortunately, nursing homes aren’t the most ideal places of residence for seniors in California, and all over the country because many nursing home residents are often abused and/or neglected. Contacting nursing home negligence attorneys can help you or a loved one get the justice you deserve if you’ve been a victim of nursing home negligence or abuse.
Other Living Facilities
In California (and throughout the U.S.), there are other types of care facilities for older adults. One of the most well-known is hospice care, which is for terminally ill people of all ages. There’s also respite care for those who are taking care of a family member and may be emotionally drained and need a break for a little while. There are also adult daycare centers for caregivers who can’t leave their aging loved ones unattended while they’re at work or running errands.
Overall, senior citizens living in California are generally healthier compared to other seniors in the U.S. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t unhealthy seniors in California, or that they’re aren’t healthy seniors elsewhere. Everyone’s risk of disease and illnesses increases as we age, so it’s important to try and live a healthy lifestyle— no matter where we live.