Retirees Fear These 5 Health Changes the Most

Serious senior man
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Older Americans worry about a handful of health conditions as they age, but one illness is especially likely to trigger fears.

By a large margin, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia, top the list of retirees’ most feared conditions in later life, according to a new report, “The Four Pillars of the New Retirement: What a Difference a Year Makes,” on a study by Edward Jones and Age Wave.

Unfortunately, worries over developing dementia are well-founded. At a time when multiple well-known causes of death are on the decline, deaths from Alzheimer’s more than doubled between 2000 and 2019, the new report notes. Today, 1 in 3 Americans who live to age 85 and older will have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Retirees surveyed say the health condition they most fear developing is:

  • Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia: 41%
  • Cancer: 21%
  • Contagious disease (such as COVID-19 or influenza): 14%
  • Stroke: 13%
  • Heart attack: 12%

The December 2020 survey — which followed up on one earlier in 2020 — was conducted among more than 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

It is no secret that as we age, our bodies become more susceptible to everything from wear and tear to life-threatening illness. Treating such maladies can be costly, but we offer tips for trimming the tab in “7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50.”

For tips on keeping your brain healthy as you age, check out “7 Lifestyle Changes That May Help Prevent Dementia.”

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