In January 2011, AARP conducted a national survey effort to learn more about the interests and concerns of the 50+ population.
AARP interviewed age 50+ Americans from every state, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. We asked about their dreams as they think about what is next in their life, as well as the challenges they see themselves facing. Additional questions were tailored to the unique issues and challenges facing the 50+ population in each state, including right here in Connecticut. What we heard will help shape AARP’s work in Connecticut and at the national level in 2011 and beyond.
The results of our Connecticut survey reflects an older population with bright dreams of traveling and spending time on leisure pursuits in retirement, but with concerns about maintaining their health and finances weighing on them, many feel they don’t have what they need to achieve those dreams.
Among the survey’s findings:
- Just over half of respondents (52 percent) listed vacation and travel as activities they would most dream of doing. Another 17 percent listed hobbies and interests as their top dream, while 10 percent dreamed first of spending more time with children, grandchildren or family.
- Over four in ten adults 50+ say that health care issues are the top problem or challenge facing mid-life and older adults in their state. An equal proportion cites economic issues as the largest challenge.
- More than 80 percent of Connecticut adults 50+ say being able to stay in their own homes are extremely or very important to them, and 78 percent think having quality long-term care for themselves or a family member when needed is extremely or very important.
- More than four in five respondents support shifting funds used for nursing home care to home and community-based care.
The survey showed large gaps between what 50+ Connecticut residents thought they needed and what they expected to have in later life. While more than 90% said staying healthy, staying mentally sharp, and having adequate health insurance are extremely or very important to them, only about four in ten say they have what they need to accomplish those goals.
While only 7 percent of Connecticut’s older residents currently lack health insurance coverage, 25 percent of respondents said they are not confident they will be able to afford adequate coverage in the future.
- About 80 percent of adults 50+ worry about one or more financial issues
- Maintaining finances and lifestyle in retirement are worries for two-thirds
- About 60 percent of respondents are worried about public assistance benefits being there when they need them
- Financial planning and saving are concerns of 60 percent
- Half worry about providing financial support for family members
- Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of 50+ adults said they do not believe elected officials in Connecticut are doing enough to lower electricity costs
Despite their own worries, Connecticut 50+ residents are divided when asked if they would support a plan to reduce the state budget deficit, if it meant cutting public benefits. One in four said they would oppose such a plan, while an equal number would support it.
Despite their concerns about their own health and financial security, four in ten 50+ adults in Connecticut are extremely/very interested in volunteering in their communities.
The survey is one of several tools that AARP is using to listen to its members and the 50+ population in Connecticut that will help guide our work in the future. When it comes to helping older people live their best lives and achieve their future goals and dreams, AARP can help. As the largest non-profit organization dedicated to improving quality of life for older Americans, AARP leads positive social change and delivers value to members through information, advocacy and service.
According to Kelley, “AARP continues to be a strong voice for Connecticut’s 50+ population, representing their interests and concerns in the marketplace and with our elected officials. As our aging population continues to grow, these are the issues that AARP will be thinking about and working on to help Connecticut’s current and future 50+ residents live their best life.”