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Growing Old in Suburbia: A Challenge for our Nation’s Elderly - A North Shore-LIJ Health System Study
Date:3/2/2013

Nearly 10 percent said that they suffered from depression and another 10 percent said they experienced anxiety.

Most seniors who attended or graduated from college reported being in excellent or very good health compared to their less-educated counterparts, regardless of their age.

“Despite the good news, there are pockets of poverty and significant issues facing many over the age of 85, and those living with significant chronic illness,” said Dr. Pekmezaris. For example, the prevalence of falls among seniors continues to raise concerns, especially for those over age 85. According to the survey, 11 percent of all seniors surveyed suffered a serious fall in the previous year. In those over age 85, the number of serious falls reached 18 percent. And those in poorer health had many more falls than their healthier counterparts.

Another encouraging sign was the support systems that most seniors have in place. According to survey results, more than 90 percent of seniors have someone to talk to when they are upset. And men tended to rely on women for assistance, while women were more likely to turn to their children for help. In terms of social activities, the majority of respondents said they go out with a friend or family member to do fun things, and the majority sees that person on a daily basis.

Economic factors were also positive for Long Island’s seniors. Most had little difficulty paying their bills. Unfortunately, those having trouble making ends meet also were the sickest.

The bottom line, said Dr. Pekmezaris, is “suburban communities are a good place to grow old, but we do need to address issues such as transportation and care at home for those seniors that have a hard time accessing what they need. Unfortunately, those most in need are having the most trouble. Seniors who are in the worst health or no longer drive were more likely to indicate problems getting to the pharmacy and grocery store”.

The survey, funded
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