"Many more older Americans are experiencing the financial crisis through the housing troubles of their children than through their own difficulties," Weir said. "Nearly 10 percent said someone else in their family had fallen behind on a mortgage."
Nearly 24 percent surveyed after the crisis said they were not satisfied with their financial situation, compared to about 17 percent when they were surveyed in 2008.
Weir found that the recession and the resulting financial losses were taking a psychological toll on older Americans as well. About 53 percent surveyed before the crisis reported experiencing no symptoms of depression, such as restless sleep, feeling sad, or feeling that everything was an effort. After the crisis, that percentage dropped by 9 percentage points, to about 44 percent. Those reporting four or more symptoms of depression---a level consistent with a diagnosis of clinically significant depression --increased from 11 percent before the crisis to 18 percent after the crisis.
"Anxiety produced by the financial crisis, whether about their own situation, their children's or the nation's, is having an impact on the mental health of older Americans that, if it persists, could have effects on physical health, as well, given what we know about the influence of depression on physical health," he said.
However, Weir found no differences in alcohol consumption among older Americans surveyed before and after the crisis, suggesting that while people may be feeling more depressed, they are not changing their core behaviors.
But, Weir said, while older Americans have been affected by the economic crisis that began last fall, and continue to feel the effects, they are coping rela
|Contact: Diane Swanbrow|
University of Michigan