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Survey: Health, Finances Top Concerns of North Dakotans 50+

Nearly half of all North Dakotans age 50 and older cite health care issues as the top challenge facing people as they age, according to a new survey by AARP. One-third say economic issues are the biggest concern, whether it’s the economy, the cost of living or having enough money to retire.

Nearly half of all North Dakotans age 50 and older cite health care issues as the top challenge facing people as they age, according to a new survey by AARP. One-third say economic issues are the biggest concern, whether it’s the economy, the cost of living or having enough money to retire.

The survey, “Voices of 50+ North Dakota: Dreams and Challenges”, also shows significant gaps between the most important issues facing older North Dakotans and the extent to which those needs are met.

For example, 94 percent of North Dakotans 50 and older say that staying healthy is important to them, but only 34 percent believe they have everything they need to make that happen. Similarly, 85 percent say it’s important that they receive Social Security benefits when needed, but only 26 percent say they have everything they need to ensure that benefits are there.

“It’s important to close those gaps so people can feel confident in older life,” said Rodger Wetzel, AARP North Dakota State President. “By listening to people’s hopes and needs, the survey will help AARP provide the tools and resources that people clearly want.”

The telephone survey of 411 randomly selected North Dakotans was conducted in January by AARP’s Research & Strategic Analysis team. All respondents were at least age 50. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percent.

Eight of every 10 survey respondents said they worry about financial security issues. The majority of North Dakota adults 50-plus also worry about saving for the future and maintaining their finances and lifestyle in retirement.

Staying in their own homes as they age is also very important to North Dakotans 50-plus. More than half said they are worried about the ability to stay in their own home as they get older. Almost half also believe it would be hard to find appropriate long-term care services that they could afford.

The survey also reflects an older population with bright dreams of traveling, time for hobbies, and spending time with friends and family, but with concerns about health care and their own financial security weighing on them, many feel they don’t have what they need to achieve those dreams.

Janis Cheney, State Director of AARP in North Dakota, said, “Despite the worries about their own health and financial future, this population still cares about the needs of others, with two-thirds spending time giving back to their community through volunteerism.”

The survey is one of several tools that AARP is using to listen to its members and the 50-plus population at the state and national level, and will help guide the Association’s advocacy and informational work.

“As North Dakota’s population continues to age, these are the issues that AARP will be thinking about and working on to help North Dakota’s current and future 50-plus residents live their best life,” said Cheney.

Questions? Email aarpnd@aarp.org or call 1-866-554-5383.

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