SEATTLE - Staying healthy is the top priority of people over age 50, according to a new AARP
survey of 403 Washington residents. The same survey points out their uncertainties about being able to do so. Worries about the economy and health care coverage, including access to Medicare, are also reflected in the survey responses.
Doug Shadel, state director of AARP Washington
, points to the gap between what people want and whether they think they'll be able to achieve it.
"When it comes to staying healthy, only 34 percent say they have the tools they need to stay healthy. Only four out of 10 say they have the tools they need to stay sharp. There's a gap between what they say is most important to them versus what they actually have in the way of abilities to get what they want."
Only 14 percent of those surveyed say they will eventually retire. Instead, most plan to keep working - at least part-time. About three-quarters of the respondents have saved money for retirement, but half say they're worried about saving enough, and 40 percent are anxious about supporting other family members.
Shadel says concerns about financial security appear to be the norm.
"It used to be that Social Security was one leg and pension was one leg and savings was another leg. Now it's work - people are actually planning that they're going to continue to work up until the time they pass away. It's just the reality of the economy we're in."
Receiving Social Security when they need it ranks high on the priority list for those over age 50, as do spending more time with family and friends and learning more about how to protect themselves from online scams and identity theft.
The complete survey results are available online at www.aarp.org/wa
. Shadel says AARP
will use the statewide and national survey results to tailor the group's seminars and information to the needs that came to light.