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National Poll on Healthy Aging Reports

NPHA is sponsored by AARP and the University of Michigan

Sponsored by AARP and the University of Michigan, the National Poll on Healthy Aging (NPHA) is a recurring, nationally representative household survey.

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By tapping into the perspectives of older adults and their caregivers, the NPHA helps inform the public, health care providers, policymakers, and advocates on issues related to health, health care, and health policy affecting U.S. adults age 50–80 and their families.

Launched in spring 2017, the NPHA grew out of a strong interest in aging-related issues among many members of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, which brings together more than 600 faculty who study health, health care and the impacts of health policy. In addition to IHPI and AARP, the poll receives support from Michigan Medicine, U-M's academic medical center.

These poll results elevate the voices of the public, inspire future research, and inform national dialogue. U-M researchers also evaluate the poll data for further insights that are shared via academic channels.

You are welcome to sign up for notification of poll results. For media inquiries, please visit the NPHA media page.

Read the NPHA Reports

2024

The Sound of Music - Music provides several health-related benefits, poll finds.

Few Older Adults Use Direct-To-Consumer Health Services and Many Who Do Don’t Tell Their Regular Provider - Poll finds 1 in 10 people aged 50-64 have used direct-to-consumer services, and most have gotten prescriptions from them; 4 in 10 people in this age group may be interested in future use.

2023

Views on Medications for Weight Management - Many adults age 50-80 who say they are overweight are interested in taking a prescription medication for weight management.

Experiences with Scams Among Older Adults - People age 50-80 who reported being in fair or poor physical or mental health, those with disabilities, and those who rate their memory as fair or poor were more likely to say they had experienced fraud.

Nearly 1 in 3 Older Michiganders Became Scam Victims in Last Two Years - Some groups appear more vulnerable, and vast majority of Michigan older adults say policymakers and companies should do more to protect people from scammers.

Older Adults’ Views on Cancer Screening Guidelines - Majority of people age 50-80 disagree with using life expectancy in guidelines for cancer screening tests.

Many Older Adults Want RSV Vaccine - New data reveal differences by age, gender, health status, levels of education and income when it comes to new vaccine awareness and interest among people age 60 to 80.

Detecting Alzheimer’s Disease: Older Adults’ Experiences with Cognitive Screening & Blood Biomarker Testing - One in 5 people age 65 to 80 have had a cognitive screening test in past year; few know about blood tests for Alzheimer’s biomarkers.

Use and Experiences with Patient Portals Among Older Adults - More older adults use patient portals but access and attitudes vary widely.

Views on Medication Deprescribing Among Adults Age 50–80 - The majority of older adults are open to stopping one or more of their medications, but some of those who already did so did not talk with a health provider first.

Trends in Loneliness Among Older Adults from 2018-2023 - Five years of poll data show decline in loneliness to near pre-pandemic levels for many, but much higher rates in those with mental or physical health challenges or disabilities.

Addiction to Highly Processed Food Among Older Adults - 1 in 8 adults over 50 show signs of food addiction, poll finds.

2022

Religious and Spiritual Beliefs and Health Care - Most older adults are wary of mixing health care and religion or spirituality, but the majority see a role for health care providers in finding meaning or hope in the face of illness.

Look for the Helpers: Providing Support to Older Adults - Supporting everything from health care needs and personal care to home repairs and finances brings both challenges and rewards for adults over 50.

At-Home Medical Tests - Older adults report high interest but uneven use of at-home medical tests to screen for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, some cancers, and potential genetic health risks.

Arthritis and Joint Pain - Nearly half of older adults say arthritis or joint pain limits their usual activities, but many haven’t talked to a doctor about medication risks.

Use of and Interest in Integrative Medicine Strategies - Many older adults look beyond conventional medicine for help, but few talk to their doctors about it, poll finds.

Women’s Health: Sex, Intimacy, and Menopause - Poll shows impact of menopause and other health issues on older women’s sex lives.

Older Adults’ Preparedness to Age in Place - Most older adults want to ‘age in place’ but many have not taken steps to help them do so.

Decision-Making About Elective Surgery - Elective surgery comes with costs, discomfort, caregiving needs, and more – but most older adults who opt for an operation were very satisfied they did.

Mobile Health App Use Among Older Adults - Health apps could help older adults with anything from sleep to diabetes, but many do not use them.

2021

Joy and Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic - The COVID-19 pandemic has had complex effects on the emotional and mental health of older adults.

Planning for Health Care Needs Before Traveling - Many older Americans plan to take long trips soon, and most say they’ll take steps to anticipate medical needs while away for two weeks or more.

Home Blood Pressure Monitoring Among Older Adults - Many older adults with chronic health conditions are not checking blood pressure at home or being encouraged to do so.

Saving for Future Health Care Expenses - Poll finds tax-free accounts used less by those who may need them most.

Physical Functioning and Falls During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Pandemic may have increased older adults’ fall risk, poll suggests.

Alcohol Use Among Older Adults - Poll finds risky drinking patterns in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mental Health Among Older Adults Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic - The pandemic worsened many older adults mental health, but they've also shown long-term resilience.

Older Adults Experiences with Advance Care Planning - Less than half of adults over 50 have formally recorded their medical care preferences if they get seriously ill.

Hearing Loss Among Older Adults: Screening and Testing - Most adults over 50 have not been screened or tested for hearing loss in the past two years.

At Home and in the Neighborhood During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Poll shows disparities among older adults in their ability to isolate at home or get outside.

2020

Emergency Department Use Among Older Adults: Experiences & Perspectives - Wait times, COVID-19 risk, and costs top concerns about seeking emergency care.

Older Adults' Perspectives on a COVID-19 Vaccine - Over half of older adults say they’ll get a COVID-19 vaccine, but many want to wait.

Older Adults' Experiences with Comprehensive Medication Reviews - Poll shows the majority of older adults who take multiple medications have never had a comprehensive medication review.

Loneliness Among Older Adults Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Poll shows loneliness doubled among older adults in first months of COVID-19.

Telehealth Use Among Older Adults Before and During COVID-19 - Telehealth visits have skyrocketed for older adults, but some concerns and barriers remain.

Everyday Ageism and Health: Older Adults Experiences with Everyday Ageism - Age-based discrimination in employment, housing, and health care can negatively affect older adults’ health and well-being.

The Joy of Cooking and Its Benefits for Older Adults - Most older adults cook and eat healthier at home, poll finds.

How Food Insecurity Affects Older Adults - Food insecurity, defined as difficulty in acquiring or accessing food due to a lack of money, affected one in nine of all U.S. households in 2018.

Dental Care & Coverage After 65: Experiences & Perspectives - Older adults show strong support for dental coverage through Medicare, poll finds.

Searching for a Good Doctor, Online - How do older adults use online physician ratings?

2019

Antibiotic Use & Concerns - Poll finds risky use by some, and opportunities for providers to improve.

Virtual Visits: Telehealth and Older Adults - Few older adults have had telehealth visits with their providers but many would be interested in these visits in specific situations.

Emergency Planning Among Older Adults - Many older adults are not fully prepared for emergency situations.

Safely Storing Medication Around Grandchildren - Many grandparents keep their medications in easy-to-reach places or in easy-to-open containers which can raise the risk of accidental poisoning or intentional misuse.

Thinking About Brain Health - Many in their 50s and early 60s take supplements or do puzzles in hopes of protecting brain health, but may miss out on effective strategies.

How Pets Contribute to Healthy Aging - Pets help older adults cope with health issues, get active, and connect with others.

Loneliness and Health - Many older adults, especially those with health issues, feel lonely and isolated.

Health Insurance Decision-Making Near Retirement - Pre-Medicare years bring health insurance worries for many.

2018

Urinary Incontinence: An Invitable Part of Aging - Half of women over 50 experience incontinence, but most have not talked to a doctor.

Older Adults' Views on Genetic Testing - Older adults show interest in, and some skepticism about, genetic testing.

Vision and Eye Care in Older Adults - Convenience, cost, and lack of insurance coverage affect eye care decisions for older adults.

Older Adults' Experiences with Opioid Prescriptions - Three in four older adults support prescription restrictions, but many keep unused pills and do not get information on risks.

Logging in: Using Patient Portals to Access Health Information - Half of older adults do not use their health provider’s secure patient communication site.

Let's Talk About Sex - The majority of older adults are satisfied with their sex lives.

Older Adults' Perspective on Medical Marijuana - Medical marijuana gets wary welcome from older adults.

Too Much of a Good Thing? Overuse of Health Care - More is not always better when it comes to health care according to many older adults.

Flu Vaccine for Nursing Home Staff and Residents - Nursing homes should require flu shots for all staff and patients most older adults say.

2017

Drug Interactions: How to Avoid Them - Lack of communication puts older adults at risk of drug interactions.

Dementia Caregivers: Juggling, Delaying, and Looking Forward - There are stresses and rewards for of those who take care of loved ones with dementia.

Trouble Sleeping? Don't Assume it's a Normal Part of Aging - One in three older adults take something to help them sleep, but many are not talking to their doctors.

Dental Care at Midlife — Unmet Needs, Uncertain Future - Many adults age 50 to 64 report dental pain, embarrassment, and poor prevention.

Doctors and Pharmacists: An Underused Resource to Manage Drug Costs for Older Adults - Older Americans do not get or seek enough help from doctors and pharmacists on drug costs.