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AARP AARP States Washington DC Health & Wellbeing

Worrying Less With Age?

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According to AARP research, adults in their 50s have greater concerns about aches, pains, and health maladies associated with aging than their older counterparts.

With the majority of adults ages 50–79 not expressing concern about aging-related ailments, the results reveal that as older adults age, they become less worried about the effects on their bodies. Still, some areas of health and wellness are consistently raised, including arthritis, changes in physical appearance, back pain, memory loss, and loss of mobility.

The number of worries also wanes significantly as people age. While more than two dozen ailments sparked concern for at least 20 percent of people in their 50s, the list of areas of concern cited by more than 20 percent of people in their 60s is 11 and dwindled to four for people in their 70s. 

Biggest Worries
Arthritis was a top concern among all age groups, cited by 30 percent of those ages 50–59, 27 percent of those ages 60–69, and 26 percent of those ages 70–79. Joint pain was also a source of apprehension for all age groups, with 21 percent, 24 percent, and 28 percent of those in their 70s, 60s, and 50s, respectively, mentioning it.

Besides arthritis and joint pain, other top concerns among all age groups are high blood pressure and cancer. But again, the worry diminishes over time. Anxiety about high blood pressure is held by 29 percent of those in their 50s and 24 percent of those in their 70s.

Women’s Concern
In general women have more trepidation about aging ailments than men. The difference is particularly pronounced when it comes to aspects of physical appearance and physical changes. In their 50s women express greater concern than men about wrinkles (29 percent vs. 18 percent), gray hair (28 percent vs. 10 percent), and jowls/double chin (21 percent vs. 12 percent).

A decade later, women in their 60s are more likely than men to express apprehension over changes in physical appearance, but the list of worries held by women also expands to physical changes, including loss of mobility, vision loss, and digestive tract issues. Each change is more likely to be cited by women than men. The only aspect of aging that men in their 60s are more concerned about than women is tinnitus (16 percent vs. 8 percent).

Among those in their 70s, with the same physical-appearance concerns continuing comes the additional concern of poor posture. Again, women continue to be more concerned than their male counterparts when it comes to this aspect, and women in their 70s are also more likely than men to worry about joint pain, lack of energy, and trouble sleeping.

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