New findings from the National Poll on Healthy Aging show that most people over 50 years of age say their health is as good as it was before the start of the pandemic in March 2020, or even better. While the majority of the results were positive, 20% of those in their 50s and early 60s, and 14% of those over 65 – say their health has declined during this time. The poll’s other findings suggest that this group of older adults may need extra support to help them age well.

The poll used a wide range of questions that were asked online and by phone in April 2022. The data includes a nationally representative sample of 1,037 adults over 50 years of age from the Foresight 50+ Omnibus panel, which draws from the Foresight 50+ Panel by AARP and NORC at the University of Chicago. The data showed that when asked what helps them age well:

Two-thirds said their home environment helps a lot. Percentages were significantly higher for those with more education or higher incomes, and those who are married.

People over 65 were much more likely to say that their relationships and friendships help them a lot as they age, at 71% compared with 58% for people aged 50 to 64. Hispanic older adults were most likely to cite relationships and friendships as helping them a lot in aging well.

Around 55% said their outlook for the future helps them a lot in aging well, though women were much more likely than men to say so (61% vs 47%) and the percentages were lower among those who say they’re in fair or poor physical or mental health (37% and 44%)

55% said access to outdoor spaces helps them a lot, but the percentage was only 32% among those who said their physical health is fair or poor.

43% said that hobbies help them a lot as they try to age well, though the percentage was 29% among those in fair or poor physical health.

One-third of those in their 50s and early 60s said continued learning and education help them a lot as they seek to age well; 22% of those over 65 said this.

Only 1 in 4 older adults said that their sense of connection to their community helped them a lot as they age.

On Thursday, May 19, from 1:00 – 2:30 pm, a panel of national aging experts will share the latest research and discuss opportunities to enhance health as we age. To register for this webinar  and learn more please click here.


Photo by Nashua Volquez-Young