Pandemic caused 4 out of 5 seniors to get serious about their health

·3-min read

Regardless of their vaccine status, two-thirds of senior citizens are still scared of catching the COVID-19 virus almost two years into the pandemic.

That's according to a recent study of 2,005 Americans aged 65+ that explored their post-pandemic concerns about maintaining health.

The survey, which was carried out by OnePoll for AmeriLife, also showed that 57% are more cautious of getting sick or injured now compared to before the pandemic.

Nearly four in five seniors (79%) said the pandemic has renewed their sense of how important maintaining health is in their older years.

To stay on the safe side, one in 10 seniors has moved closer to a relative since the start of the pandemic, while almost one in seven (14%) said a family member moved closer to them.

Though that hasn't stopped a majority from keeping their independence — 50% said they've managed their health on their own, and 64% have handled their day-to-day errands by themselves.

In fact, nearly half of respondents aged 75+ reported taking care of their own daily tasks rather than relying on others (46%).

When it comes to deciding on their preferred health care plans, seven in 10 older Americans also have taken charge of making these decisions, though women (74%) are more likely to do this than men (65%).

"While the past 18 months have been challenging for everyone, seniors in particular have shown a resiliency and determination that has long been a hallmark of their generation," said Scott R. Perry, CEO of AmeriLife. "We believe that we have an obligation to educate and empower them to make decisions for their health and financial well-being on their terms, while also ensuring they can continue to have control over — and we can support — these critically important life decisions."

When it comes to monthly health care expenses, senior men ($352) also pay more for services than women ($260). This amounts to women spending $1,101 less than men do on yearly health-related bills.

Fifty-three percent said they face obstacles in navigating their health care. For example, one in five cited the anxiety of being taken seriously when making a doctor's appointment. 

Nearly the same number (19%) said they fear the discovery of a serious illness.

That may be why more seniors are taking their health into their own hands, as 42% of current policyholders were willing to do online research before making a health insurance purchase.

However, the majority (53%) said they'd be willing to purchase health insurance online only if it was done through a licensed agent.

"The value of human connection has never been more important, particularly considering the impact of the pandemic," said Mike Vietri, chief distribution officer at AmeriLife. "Similarly, the value of a dedicated insurance agent has never been higher. Today's best agents are educators and advocates for their clients, with access to the right technology and innovative insurance solutions that help those approaching and in retirement to make the most informed decisions for themselves and their families."

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