Health and Economic Concerns Threatening Retirement Dreams of 50+ Pennsylvanians, According to New AARP Study

Mar 09, 2011, 10:52 ET from AARP Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new AARP survey of Pennsylvanians age 50 + reflects a population that dreams of leisure pursuits, traveling and spending time with family in retirement. However, in the wake of the national recession, older adults don't have what they need to accomplish their most important goals due to growing concerns over health care and economic issues.

"The Voices of 50+ Pennsylvania: Dreams and Challenges survey paints a picture of 50+ Pennsylvanians coming to terms with a difficult economy," said Dick Chevrefils, AARP Pennsylvania State Director. "While mid-life and older adults would prefer enjoying a secure retirement, the reality shows those dreams are being replaced by real concerns about having enough money to retire and stay healthy."

More than 400 Pennsylvania residents were surveyed in January as part of a huge AARP research effort -- the Association conducted separate surveys in each of the 50 states and three territories where AARP has offices, plus a national survey -- to better gather information on the needs, interests and concerns of Americans age 50 and older.

Among the Pennsylvania survey's findings:

  • Almost half of adults 50+ say the cost of health care and staying healthy are the top problem or challenge facing mid-life and older adults in their state. Nearly three in ten cite economic issues as the largest challenge.
  • At a more personal level, adults 50+ say vacations and seeing their children and grandchildren happy are what they personally dream about doing next in their lives.
  • Health and financial security are very important in the lives of adults 50+. More than nine in ten say staying healthy, staying mentally sharp, having adequate health insurance, and receiving Social Security and Medicare when needed are extremely or very important to them.
  • Adults 50+ do not have everything they need in order to accomplish their most important goals: Only about two in ten have what they need to protect themselves from consumer fraud. About three in ten have what they need to stay healthy.
  • Over eight in ten adults 50+ worry about one or more financial issues. Public assistance benefits and maintaining finances and lifestyle in retirement are worries for over six in ten.
  • More than half of 50+ adults surveyed are experiencing some difficulty paying monthly household utility costs.
  • About 40 percent of adults 50+ worry about one or more consumer protection issues. Almost eight in ten were concerned enough about protecting themselves against consumer fraud and unfair and deceptive business practices that they regularly review their credit card and other financial statements.
  • Staying in their own homes as they age is important to adults 50+. Nearly all say it is important to have long-term care services that allow people to remain in their own homes.
  • In the current economy, adults 50+ believe it is important to protect education and local public safety services (police and fire) from budget cuts. Eight in ten believe it is important to protect home care services that allow people to stay in their own home.

"From the state's 4.2 million adults age 50+ to families caring for aging relatives, the concerns raised in this survey affect many Pennsylvania households," said Chevrefils. "We will use this information to guide our advocacy and outreach work and continue helping Pennsylvanians age 50+ live their best life."

For a copy of the complete research report, contact the AARP Pennsylvania staff member listed above or visit

AARP has 1.8 million members in Pennsylvania. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan social welfare organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Contact: Steve Gardner, AARP PA

(717) 237-6481 or

SOURCE AARP Pennsylvania