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Report details boomers’ disabilities

Staff Report

Nearly 40 percent of people age 65 and older had at least one disability, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report that covered 2008 to 2012. Of those 15.7 million people, two-thirds of them say they had difficulty walking or climbing.

Difficulty with independent living, such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping, was the second-most cited disability, followed by serious difficulties in hearing, cognitive functions, bathing or dressing and serious difficulty seeing.

In Washington, 38.6 percent of the 837,000 people age 65 and over had at least one disability. Of those, 43.8 percent had one disability while 56.2 percent had two or more, according to the report. Also, 31 percent of this older population is living alone.

In Idaho, 39.2 percent of the 197,000 people age 65 and over had at least one disability. Of those, 45 percent had one disability while 55 percent had two or more disabilities. The report also showed that 28.4 percent of older Idahoans with disabilities lived alone.

While populous states such as California, Florida, New York and Texas had the largest number of older people with a disability, high disability rates were seen in Southern counties, especially in central Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta.

Older Americans With a Disability: 2008-2012, a report based on data collected during the American Community Survey, examines disability status by age, sex and selected socioeconomic characteristics, such as marital status, living arrangement, educational attainment and poverty status.

The United States is expected to have a rapid expansion in the number of older people with a disability in the next 20 years because of the baby boom generation. The first of the boomers turned 65 in 2011.

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