CDC: Cost of caring for elderly rising rapidly

Share this content:

The cost of caring for the nation's aging population will add 25% to the country's overall healthcare costs over the next 23 years. That's according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Preventive services will be the key to controlling these rising costs, the CDC said in its report "The State of Aging and Health in America 2007."

At least 80% of U.S. residents age 65 or older have at least one chronic condition that could lead to early death or disability, report authors wrote. The Merck Company Foundation underwrote the research.

The U.S. is currently doing well in four key indicators of elderly health established by the federal government, including: mammogram screening, colorectal screening, cholesterol monitoring and smoking cessation. There is room for improvement with oral health, physical activity promotion, flu and pneumonia vaccination and hip fracture prevention, researchers say.

The call for more preventive healthcare is fortified by the fact that the cost of caring for the elderly is three to five times greater than the cost of caring for younger adults, the report stated.