Sobering Stats and Facts For The Living

Sometimes, it is a good idea to take a look at stats and facts in order to fully grasp what is really going on in the world. The information posted below was found on the following websites: the Administration on Aging; the US census bureau; Alzheimers Association; The National Council on Aging; U.S. Defense Government;  The World Health Organization; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here's a chart that will make you stop in your tracks.  Let's look closer at some stats...

AGING POPULATION -The world population is rapidly aging and the number of people aged 80 and older will quadruple in the period 2000 to 2050. -The older population (65+) numbered 40.4 million in 2010, an increase of 5.4 million or 15.3% since 2000. -The number of Americans aged 45-64 – who will reach 65 over the next two decades – increased by 31% during this decade. -Over one in every eight, or 13.1%, of the population is an older American. -Older women outnumber older men at 23.0 million older women to 17.5 million older men. -About 29% (11.3 million) of noninstitutionalized older persons live alone (8.1 million women, 3.2 million men). -Almost half of older women (47%) age 75+ live alone. -The 85+ population is projected to increase from 5.5 million in 2010 and then to 6.6 million in 2020 (19%) for that decade. -About 2.6 million persons celebrated their 65th birthday in 2010. -In 2010, almost 1.8 million persons 65 or older died. -Census estimates showed an annual net increase of 814,406 in the number of persons 65 and over. -Some type of disability (i.e., difficulty in hearing, vision, cognition, ambulation, self-care, or independent living) was reported by 37% of older persons in 2010.  ALZHEIMER'S -Today, an American develops Alzheimer's disease every 68 seconds. -In 2050, an American will develop Alzheimer's disease every 33 seconds. -Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. -More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's. -5.2 Million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's in 2013. -1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer's or some form of dementia. -Nearly 15 percent of caregivers are long-distance caregivers, living an hour or more away from their loved ones. -In 2013, the direct costs of caring for those with Alzheimer's to American society will total an estimated $203 billion dollars. -Approximately 92% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two. -Four chronic diseases—heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes—cause almost two-thirds of all deaths each year. MILITARY -U.S. Casualty status reports 6,778 deaths in 2013 for military casualties and civilian casualties. -There is 1 military suicide every 18 hours. TEENS -10,887 teens between ages 15-19 died in 2013. -11 teens die every day from texting and driving accidents. -48% of teen deaths occur from unintentional injuries. -An estimated 1400 teens die each year from drug related deaths. ACCIDENTS -In 2012, 10,322 people died in alcohol-impared driving crashes. -Every 15 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. -Every 29 minutes, an older adult dies following a fall. WISHES -73% of Americans would prefer to die at home, but anywhere between 20-50% of Americans die in hospital settings. -More than 80% say their loved ones “know exactly” or have a “good idea” of what their wishes would be if they were in a persistent coma, but only 50% say they've talked to them about their preferences. -Eight out of ten people say it is “very” or “somewhat” important to write down their end-of-life wishes, but only 36% actually have written instructions. These are sobering facts. So why are facts so important? Because death is inevitable. And death can happen at any age. Talking about your wishes before the inevitable event is a stellar idea.  The aging population hopefully knows that the end of their runway is shorter than that of a teenager's.  Our society continues to shy away from the conversations about death. Please change your minds about having those conversations- and begin to have them now.