Seniors

A recent study by shows that seniors are worried that as they age, they won’t be able to pay their bills. Almost 60 percent of Americans age 60 and older told researchers they were concerned that health care and prescription drug costs are outpacing their retirement savings, and these concerns are even higher for women.

South Dakota consistently ranks in the top 10 states where the population of those retirement age and older is growing, and more women than men are worried about running out of money.

South Dakota adults ages 65 and older account for 16.3 percent of the population, up two percentage points since 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Anna Maria Chavez, executive vice president and chief growth officer at the National Council on Aging, says a recent study by the group shows that both men and women are worried that as they age, they won’t be able to pay their bills.

“Almost 60 percent of Americans age 60 and older told us they were concerned that health care and prescription drug costs are outpacing their retirement savings, and these concerns are even higher for women across almost all questions we asked,” she said.

Women traditionally earn less money in their careers than men, but also frequently outlive their partners elevating financial concerns.

The survey of 1,200 adults aged 60 and older found in addition to health care costs, retirees are worried about losing their independence as they age.

Chavez says because women tend to be the family caregiver, many on-ramp and off-ramp their careers to take care of children, a spouse or elderly parents and experience the consequences of the income gap during retirement.

She adds that as Americans live longer, many will need to chart a new course for earning money.

“Education — many people think that education is only K-through-12 or K-through-college,” she states. “The reality is seniors, older adults, may have to work longer, which means they may have to retool their skill set.”

A second study conducted in the Dakotas shows that housing deemed appropriate for aging in place is largely absent in both states.

The extension offices at South and North Dakota State universities interviewed 600 people across both states and found that strategies to build homes that are suitable for aging in place are known, but implementation has been sparse.

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