NEW YORK — Age is just a number, right? Well, according to a new survey of 2,000 Americans, once you reach a certain age it doesn’t matter how you feel on the inside, you’re old. It may sound a bit early to some, but an individual is officially elderly once they turn 57 years old.
The research, commissioned by LetsGetChecked, asked participants about a variety of age-related topics, including their top concerns about getting older. Unsurprisingly, declining health (39%) was the number one aging-related worry reported by respondents, followed by wrinkles (36%), weight gain (36%), gray hair (35%), and hair loss (34%).
Other worries cited included losing the ability to take care of oneself (34%), age spots (34%), being viewed as “old” (33%), financial problems (33%), and loss of independence (19%).
Despite many saying they’re worried about their finances in old age, 45% admitted they aren’t actively saving for retirement. Among the other 55% who are saving for the future, the average participant saves about 19% of their monthly income. Even more fascinating, 34% of those who aren’t saving for old age said they just can’t bring themselves to imagine being old or look that far into the future.
Still, two-thirds of all respondents indicated they are taking some steps to prepare for their distant future. What are some of those preparations? Over half (64%) believe they are well informed regarding when they should start to be tested for various health problems. For example, the average respondent said breast cancer testing should start at the age of 36. That’s actually four years earlier than the American Cancer Society’s recommendation of 40 years old.
Respondents also said colon cancer testing should begin at age 40. Again, that’s earlier than what the ACS recommends (45 years old).
Many participants, however, expressed reluctance regarding colon cancer testing. When asked why, the top reason given was a worry about what the results may reveal (32%), with lack of health insurance being a close second (31%). Other reasons given included participants not believing they are at risk (29%), feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable about being tested (29%), and not having any relevant symptoms (29%).
All in all, 85% of surveyed individuals who should be getting tested for colon cancer said they are overdue for a checkup or have never been tested at all.
According to national colon screening guidelines, everyone over the age fo 45 should be tested for colon cancer every two years. If a younger individual has a family history of colon problems or notices problematic symptoms, they should be checked even earlier in life.
Despite many respondent being knowledgeable on some aspects of testing, 52% also expressed confusion about all the tests and checkups they should keep up with in old age. Another 52% said they’re just too busy to worry about medical tests right now, and 37% admitted they probably aren’t being tested as often as they should be.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.