Rhode Island’s Older Population on the Rise
To build an age-friendly community, it is essential to help residents live independently with the care, support and resources they need as they age. We all hope a safe, healthy and secure future lies ahead. By identifying issues faced by older adults, we can better plan for the rise in the older adult population.
Rhode Islanders are living longer than ever. Projections from the Statewide Planning Office indicate that by 2030, the percentage of people age 65 and older will increase from 15.8% in 2014 to 23.1% in 2030.
In sheer numbers this means nearly 100,000 more Rhode Islanders will be older than age 65. By 2040, there will be a 100% increase in people aged 74 to 84 and a 72% increase in those 85 and older. Rhode Island also has the highest proportion of adults age 85 and older than any other state in the union.
Health Issues Increase
Studies reflect what we all suspect; health issues often increase with age. Data from the Rhode Island Department of Health found that the majority of older Rhode Islanders have two or more chronic diseases, while 50% of those over the age of 85 have some sort of physical limitation. The graph below illustrates the percentages of those reporting poor health, and the marked increase in unsatisfactory health ratings and disability between ages 65 and 85.
The recently released Rhode Island 2016 Healthy Aging Data Report funded by the Tufts Health Plan Foundation provides community profiles for every city and town including population characteristics and healthy aging indicators. This report is a valuable tool to support healthy aging in Rhode Island.