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Hanging on to Health: Top Concern for Missourians 50+

March 7, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Staying healthy is the top concern for Missourians aged 50 and older, and that concern outpaces all others by a wide margin (98 percent), according to a new AARP survey recently released.

Craig Eichelman, senior state director for AARP Missouri, says older Missourians are also very concerned about cuts to Social Security and Medicare and how that could affect their health. He says it's also about more than just staying healthy physically and mentally.

"Making sure you have adequate health insurance coverage and Medicare when needed was of great importance to this group. "

Eichelman says the majority of those responding, to the survey, 61 percent, were not members of AARP, and this marks the first time the group has included non-members in the nationwide survey.

Eichelman says that while living independently is a concern, it's also a challenge facing Missourians 50 and older, especially when state budget cuts often include the services they rely upon to be able to live on their own. He says institutional care costs the state more money than the services that allow people to live independently.

"A lot of folks end up, you know, in a nursing home because those services just aren't available, but helping somebody stay independent at home with meals or cleaning or other things that help them stay independent, in the long run is much less expensive. "

Other top areas of concern for Missourians 50-plus include consumer fraud protection and economic issues related to retirement.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO