For many, growing older is not accompanied by life-limiting declines in health, according to a new study from the MacArthur Research Network on an Aging Society and published in the Journals of Gerontology. The study analyzed survey data of Americans aged 51 and older and found that a substantial group of individuals at all ages experienced not just exceptional health, but their mental and physical functioning was at a level exhibited by people decades younger. Additionally, nearly one-third of Americans over 85 years old have not been diagnosed with any of the top five chronic diseases: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or stroke. The researchers stress that these findings indicate a need to look more closely at policies that presume age, health decline, and dependency all go hand-in hand.
MacArthur’s policy-related grantmaking aims to improve and inform decision making at the federal, state and local levels through general operating support to a small portfolio of organizations across an array of issues and special fiscal, demographic and analytical projects with broad implications for domestic policy.