Adults entering their 60s have more disabilities than older cohorts, research finds

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Democrats look to Medicare Part D checks to sway seniors by November
Democrats look to Medicare Part D checks to sway seniors by November

As baby boomers age, they are likely to have significantly more disabilities than previous generations, a new report suggests.

The UCLA study found that seniors aged 60-69 exhibited 40%-70% increases in several types of disabilities over time, while groups aged 70-79 and 80+ showed no increases in disabilities. In some cases, the older cohorts even had fewer disabilities than previous generations. Researchers examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from both 1988 and 1999 to determine trends in disability rates.

Though researchers didn't look at data concerning baby boomers, the dramatically increased rate of disabilities among those born before World War II holds great insight into the fate of boomers about to turn 60, report authors say. The sudden influx of so many potentially disabled adults into the healthcare system will put an added burden on an already fragile system and boost health costs for society as a whole, researchers say. The report will appear in the January 2010 edition of the American Journal of Public Health.