Source: U.S. Department of Labor
Providing accommodations to aging workers with disabilities, chronic health problems or reduced work capacity can help employers retain experienced staff who might otherwise leave the workforce prematurely, according to two briefs issued today by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The briefs provide recommendations for state and federal policymakers, employers and health care industry leaders on retaining critical talent. One identifies successful strategies, including supportive policies, for retaining aging health care professionals without sacrificing patient care. The other recommends that employers and policymakers adopt early interventions to prevent disability-related job loss by providing workers with assistive technology and other workplace accommodations.
The briefs summarize assessments and recommendations from two conferences sponsored by the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy that gathered experts on aging, disability and employment to discuss the impact of aging on the national workforce and health care systems. The U.S Census Bureau projects that, by 2020, many of the 25 million baby boomers that make up more than 40 percent of the current U.S. labor force will exit, leaving many jobs unfilled and taking decades of accumulated knowledge with them. In addition, as the population ages, the demand for health care services will increase just as many health care workers are facing retirement.
Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University
After languishing for several years, the U.S. remodeling industry appears to be pulling out of its downturn, and a renewal of the nation’s housing stock is underway. The U.S. Housing Stock: Ready for Renewal is the latest report in the Improving America’s Housing series, published by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center. Foreclosed properties are being rehabilitated, sustainable home improvements are gaining popularity, older homeowners are retrofitting their homes to accommodate their evolving needs, and the future market potential is immense, as the emerging echo boom generation is projected to be the largest in our nation’s history.
Source: PLoS ONE
Age is a primary social dimension. We behave differently toward people as a function of how old we perceive them to be. Age perception relies on cues that are correlated with age, such as wrinkles. Here we report that aspects of facial contrast–the contrast between facial features and the surrounding skin–decreased with age in a large sample of adult Caucasian females. These same aspects of facial contrast were also significantly correlated with the perceived age of the faces. Individual faces were perceived as younger when these aspects of facial contrast were artificially increased, but older when these aspects of facial contrast were artificially decreased. These findings show that facial contrast plays a role in age perception, and that faces with greater facial contrast look younger. Because facial contrast is increased by typical cosmetics use, we infer that cosmetics function in part by making the face appear younger.
Source: Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies
The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies®, as part of its 13th Annual Retirement Survey, has uncovered the staggering truth that nearly half of women (48 percent) do not have any retirement strategy at all, despite the fact that 56 percent of women expect to self fund their retirement through 401(k)s, retirement accounts, or other savings and investments. The Center’s latest study, “Juggling Current Priorities and Long-Term Security: Every Woman Needs Her Own Retirement Strategy,” sheds light on women’s attitudes and behaviors related to saving and planning for retirement, and offers details about how they compare to their male counterparts.
The study found that women’s retirement dreams include traveling, spending more time with family and friends, and pursuing hobbies; however, the majority of women (53 percent) plan to retire after age 65 or do not plan to retire. And the majority (53 percent) plan to continue working after they retire, including 45 percent of women who plan to work part-time and eight percent who plan to work full-time. Most of these women will do so for reasons related to income or health benefits.
Women’s expectations of delaying retirement and/or working in retirement illustrate a serious crisis of retirement confidence. More than half of women (54 percent) are “not too confident” or “not at all confident,” compared to only 44 percent of men who share that sentiment. Only seven percent of women are “very confident” in their ability to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle.
Part of what may be fueling this lack of retirement confidence is a lifelong concern about taking care of family. Women most frequently cite their single greatest retirement fear (26 percent) as not being able to meet the financial needs of their family. More than one in four women (28 percent) expect to take time or have already taken time out of the workforce to act as caregiver for a child or aging parent. Of these caregivers, 73 percent believe that this time out will impact their ability to save for retirement. Further, many reported that their retirement may involve financial caregiving; one in three women (31 percent) expects that when they are retired, they will need to provide financial support for a family member other than their spouse.
Source: Journal of Eating Disorders
Research indicates that body dissatisfaction is correlated with and often predictive of both physical and mental health problems. “Fat talk,” a well-studied form of body image talk in adolescents and university-aged women, has been implicated as contributing to body dissatisfaction and mediating the relationship between body dissatisfaction and other mental health problems. Limited research, however, has investigated fat talk across the female lifespan. Further, consistent with most body image research, fat talk research solely focuses on the thin dimension of idealized female attractiveness, even though other dimensions may contribute to body dissatisfaction in women.
The current study investigated whether or not “old talk,” a hereto un-described form of body image talk, appears to be a parallel, but distinct, form of body image talk that taps into the young dimension of the thin-young-ideal standard of female beauty. An international, internet sample of women (aged 18–87, N = 914) completed questionnaires aimed at assessing fat talk, old talk, body image disturbance, and eating disorder pathology.
Results indicated that both fat talk and old talk were reported by women across the lifespan, although they evidenced different trajectories of frequency. Like fat talk, old talk was significantly correlated with body image disturbance and eating disorder pathology, albeit at a lower rate than fat talk in the total sample. Old talk was more highly correlated with ageing appearance anxiety than fat talk, and the correlation between old talk and body image disturbance and ED pathology increased with women’s ages.
Results suggest that old talk is a form of body image talk that is related to but distinct from fat talk. Old talk appears to be similarly problematic to fat talk for women whose age increases their deviation from the thin-young-ideal. Further research into the phenomenon of old talk is warranted as is increased attention to fat talk across the full lifespan of women.
Has the time come for an older driver vehicle?
Source: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute
The population of the world is growing older. As people grow older they are more likely to experience declines that can make operating a personal automobile more difficult. Once driving abilities begin to decline, older adults are often faced with decreased mobility. Due to the preference for and pervasiveness of the personal automobile for satisfying mobility needs, there is a global necessity to keep older adults driving for as long as they can safely do so. In this report we explore the question: Has the time come for an older driver vehicle? Great gains in safe mobility could be made by designing automobiles that take into account, and help overcome, some of the deficits in abilities common in older people. The report begins by providing a background and rationale for an older driver vehicle, including discussions of relevant trends, age-related declines in functional abilities, and the adverse consequences of decreased mobility. The next section discusses research and issues related to vehicle design and advanced technology with respect to older drivers. The next section explores crashworthiness issues and the unique requirements for older adults. The following section discusses the many issues related to marketing a vehicle that has been designed for older drivers. The report concludes that there is a clear global opportunity to improve the safety, mobility, and quality of life of older adults by designing vehicles and vehicle technologies that help overcome common age-related deficits. The marketing of these vehicles to older consumers, however, will be challenging and will likely require further market research. The development of vehicle design features, new automotive technologies, and crashworthiness systems in the future should be guided by both knowledge of the effects of frailty/fragility of the elderly on crash outcomes, as well as knowledge of common drivingrelated declines in psychomotor, visual, and cognitive abilities. Design strategies that allow for some degree of customization may be particularly beneficial. It is clear that training and education efforts for using new vehicle features will need to be improved.
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute
Quick Health Facts 2012: Selected State Data on Older Americans provides a snapshot of each state’s health care landscape by providing comparable state-level and national data for over 70 indicators. This report, which is part of a biannual series on state-level data, is designed to reflect current health care priorities, with a particular focus on data that is relevant to the provisions of the recently upheld health care reform legislation. For example:
- The Demographics section presents data on the 50- to 64-year-old population that shows what percentage of the population could be eligible for health insurance premium and cost-sharing assistance starting in 2014.
- In the Medicare section, the number of Medicare Part B beneficiaries who paid an income-related premium in 2008 is an indicator of how many Medicare Part D enrollees could pay an income-related premium.
- The Coverage and Capacity section includes data on private employers that currently offer health care coverage; many employers will be required to offer health insurance starting in 2014.
In some cases, indicators have been broken down into age subsets to highlight the variation among different age groups.
Differences in dual-task performance and prefrontal cortex activation between younger and older adults
Source: BMC Neuroscience
The purpose of this study was to examine task-related changes in prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity during a dual-task in both healthy young and older adults and compare patterns of activation between the age groups. We also sought to determine whether brain activation during a dual-task relates to executive/attentional function and how measured factors associated with both of these functions vary between older and younger adults.
Thirty-five healthy volunteers (20 young and 15 elderly) participated in this study. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) was employed to measure PFC activation during a single-task (performing calculations or stepping) and dual-task (performing both single-tasks at once). Cognitive function was assessed in the older patients with the Trail-making test part B (TMT-B). Major outcomes were task performance, brain activation during task (oxygenated haemoglobin: Oxy-Hb) measured by NIRS, and TMT-B score. Mixed ANOVAs were used to compare task factors and age groups in task performance. Mixed ANOVAs also compared task factors, age group and time factors in task-induced changes in measured Oxy-Hb. Among the older participants, correlations between the TMT-B score and Oxy-Hb values measured in each single-task and in the dual-task were examined using a Pearson correlation coefficient.
Oxy-Hb values were significantly increased in both the calculation task and the dual-task within patients in both age groups. However, the Oxy-Hb values associated with there were higher in the older group during the post-task period for the dual-task. Also, there were significant negative correlations between both task-performance accuracy and Oxy-Hb values during the dual-task and participant TMT-B scores.
Older adults demonstrated age-specific PFC activation in response to dual-task challenge. There was also a significant negative correlation between PFC activation during dual-task and executive/attentional function. These findings suggest that the high cognitive load induced by dual-task activity generates increased PFC activity in older adults. However, this relationship appeared to be strongest in participants with better baseline attention and executive functions.
Subjective Impressions Do Not Mirror Online Reading Effort: Concurrent EEG-Eyetracking Evidence from the Reading of Books and Digital Media
Source: PLoS ONE
In the rapidly changing circumstances of our increasingly digital world, reading is also becoming an increasingly digital experience: electronic books (e-books) are now outselling print books in the United States and the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, many readers still view e-books as less readable than print books. The present study thus used combined EEG and eyetracking measures in order to test whether reading from digital media requires higher cognitive effort than reading conventional books. Young and elderly adults read short texts on three different reading devices: a paper page, an e-reader and a tablet computer and answered comprehension questions about them while their eye movements and EEG were recorded. The results of a debriefing questionnaire replicated previous findings in that participants overwhelmingly chose the paper page over the two electronic devices as their preferred reading medium. Online measures, by contrast, showed shorter mean fixation durations and lower EEG theta band voltage density – known to covary with memory encoding and retrieval – for the older adults when reading from a tablet computer in comparison to the other two devices. Young adults showed comparable fixation durations and theta activity for all three devices. Comprehension accuracy did not differ across the three media for either group. We argue that these results can be explained in terms of the better text discriminability (higher contrast) produced by the backlit display of the tablet computer. Contrast sensitivity decreases with age and degraded contrast conditions lead to longer reading times, thus supporting the conclusion that older readers may benefit particularly from the enhanced contrast of the tablet. Our findings thus indicate that people’s subjective evaluation of digital reading media must be dissociated from the cognitive and neural effort expended in online information processing while reading from such devices.
See: Despite Reported Dislike, Older Readers Put in Less Effort When Using E-Readers (Science Daily)
Britons raise a few eyebrows
Source: British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
Despite a gruelling ‘double-dip’ recession, a breast implant scandal and an ongoing government enquiry into the sector, Britons were able to maintain a poker face as demand for anti-ageing procedures soared. Audit figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (www.baaps.org.uk) today reveal that although the number of overall procedures remained static and barely changed at all over the last year, facial rejuvenation treatments in particular proved the nation’s favourites with eyelid surgery, fat transfer, brow and face lifts all experiencing a double-digit rise.
Perhaps inspired by last year’s Olympic feats, it was back to the gym for GB as body-shaping ops (such as liposuction, tummy tucks and ‘man boob’ reductions) fell out of favour quite dramatically in comparison to facial anti-ageing procedures. The most impressive percentage increase was in male brow lifts, which rose by 19%. Eyelid surgery and fat transfer also proved popular with both genders, showing a rise of 13% – as did facelifts, up 14%, compared with abdominoplasty (tummy tucks) and liposuction tumbling in demand by 12% and 14% respectively.
In all likelihood a result of the ongoing PIP implants crisis, demand for breast augmentation dipped as expected but only slightly by 1.6%, and continued to maintain its place as the most popular aesthetic surgery. On the whole, the number of surgical procedures showed a barely-perceptible rise of 0.2% from 2011 to a total of 43,172, and their order of popularity remained largely unchanged.
Relationship between depressive symptom severity and emergency department use among low-income, depressed homebound older adults aged 50 years and older
Source: BMC Psychiatry
Previous research found a high prevalence of depression, along with chronic illnesses and disabilities, among older ED patients. This study examined the relationship between depressive symptom severity and the number of ED visits among low-income homebound older adults who participated in a randomized controlled trial of telehealth problem-solving therapy (PST).
The number of and reasons for ED visits were collected from the study participants (n=121 at baseline) at all assessment points—baseline and 12- and 24-week follow-ups. Depressive symptoms were measured with the 24-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD). All multivariable analyses examining the relationships between ED visits and depressive symptoms were conducted using zero-inflated Poisson regression models.
Of the participants, 67.7% used the ED at least once and 61% of the visitors made at least one return visit during the approximately 12-month period. Body pain (not from fall injury and not including chest pain) was the most common reason. The ED visit frequency at baseline and at follow-up was significantly positively associated with the HAMD scores at the assessment points. The ED visit frequency at follow-up, controlling for the ED visits at baseline, was also significantly associated with the HAMD score change since baseline.
The ED visit rate was much higher than those reported in other studies. Better education on self-management of chronic conditions, depression screening by primary care physicians and ED, and depression treatment that includes symptom management and problem-solving skills may be important to reduce ED visits among medically ill, low-income homebound adults.
Source: Preventing Chronic Disease
The objective of this study was to examine and compare 3 key health behaviors associated with chronic disease (ie, risky drinking, smoking, and sedentary lifestyle). We used data from the National Health Interview Survey from 1997 through 2010 to calculate the prevalence of these behaviors among older Americans and rank each state, and we analyzed overall trends in prevalence for each behavior over the 14 years. Older adults residing in Arkansas and Montana had the worst chronic disease risk profile compared with other states. These findings indicate the need for improved or increased targeted interventions in these states.
Risky drinking, smoking, and sedentary lifestyle are key health behaviors associated with chronic disease and increased illness and death in older adults (1). Excessive drinking is associated with cancers of the liver, head and neck, colorectum, pancreas, and breast, as well as cardiovascular disease and diabetes (2). Smoking is associated with cancer and poor cardiovascular outcomes (1). Cardiovascular disease and cancer risk are increased by sedentary behavior (1). The objective of this study was to examine the prevalence and trends of these 3 health behaviors among older Americans and rank them at the state level to determine the best allocation of public health resources.
Data were obtained from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an annual, cross-sectional, multistage probability household survey of the noninstitutionalized civilian US population, from 1997 through 2010. Eligibility criteria were adults aged 65 or older (N = 79,973; representing 34,632,575 people). NHIS questions regarding the 3 variables are available online (3). Smoker was defined as “current smoker” (4). Risky drinking was defined as current drinkers having 10 or more drinks per week in men and 7 or more drinks per week in women, or having 5 or more drinks on 1 occasion, 1 or more times per year for men and women (4). Physical activity level was defined as compliance with the Healthy People 2010 goal of moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day on 5 or more days per week or vigorous physical activity for at least 20 minutes per day on 3 or more days per week (5).
NHIS data were pooled and analyses were conducted using SAS version 9.2 (SAS Institute Inc, Cary, North Carolina), adjusting for sample weights and design effects (3). We calculated prevalence, standard errors (SEs), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and ranked states according to the prevalence of each risk factor indicator. We analyzed trends by using weighted linear regression of prevalence on year. Weight was generated with the inverse of the variance of prevalence. Some states were missing values because they did not meet the criteria for stable estimate analysis in all study years (6).
Because state-level data are not released to the public, all analyses were performed remotely at the National Center for Health Statistics Research Data Center. The study was approved by the University of Miami’s institutional review board.
The prevalence of smoking among US adults aged 65 years or older was 9.6% (Table 1). States with the highest smoking prevalence were Nevada (17.9%) and Kentucky (15.0%). States with the lowest rates of smoking were Utah (5.4%) and South Dakota (6.2%). Overall, 22% of older Americans reported risky drinking patterns; Arizona and New Hampshire had the highest prevalence, both at 29.0%, and the lowest prevalences were found in Kansas (14.4%) and Oklahoma (16.4%) (Table 2). Twenty-two percent of older Americans reported meeting physical activity recommendations; the highest prevalence was reported in Colorado (30.8%), Hawaii (34.8%), and Maine (40.1%), and the lowest prevalence was reported in Louisiana (13.4%), Mississippi (13.4%), and South Dakota (14.6%) (Table 3). Older Americans residing in Arkansas and Montana were in the top 10 worst rankings for all 3 behaviors.
A downward trend in smoking was observed during the 14 years for California (slope, −0.32; SE, 0.09; P = .004) and South Carolina (slope, −0.54; SE, 0.21; P = .046), and an increased trend for risky drinking was observed in Massachusetts (slope, 1.07; SE, 0.39; P = .026). In North Carolina (slope, 0.82; SE, 0.25; P = .007) and Texas (slope, 0.57; SE, 0.16; P = .004), an upward trend in exercise compliance was observed. Trend analysis was not conducted for 7 states and the District of Columbia due to insufficient sample sizes.
The average age of Americans is expected to increase substantially in the coming years (7). Modifying key health behaviors and creating cost-effective interventions may contribute to decreasing illness and death in this growing population demographic (8).
Lifestyle changes that occur with aging can affect chronic disease risk. Older adults who exercise regularly have a reduced mortality risk (9), but those who drink alcohol excessively are more prone to oxidative stress, which further increases the incidence of chronic disease (10). A twofold higher mortality rate was shown for older male smokers than nonsmokers (11). Risky drinking with aging has been positively associated with vigorous physical activity and negatively associated with current smoking, possibly reflecting better health among adults who engage in risky drinking as they age (12). Nevertheless, excessive alcohol consumption is associated with risk of falls (1) and adverse medication interactions in older Americans (10).
Limitations of this study included an inability to use estimates from all states due to small sample sizes or unstable estimates in some states (ie, a relative SE of ≥30%). We were unable to conduct complete trend analyses for all states given sample size limitations. The strength of this study was the access to a large set of sample data at the state level for prevalence comparisons in older Americans.
Public health resources should focus on specific interventions to affect behaviors in states with residents at high risk for developing chronic disease. These resources can include a purposeful combination of the following: 1) increasing tobacco excise taxes, proven to be the most effective means to decrease smoking (1), 2) using online and telephone substance abuse treatment facility locators and media campaigns to disseminate information on alcohol abuse (1), and 3) enhancing access to recreational and physical activity facilities in communities specific to older Americans, pursuant to the Healthy People 2010 guidelines (5). Emphasis on geographic aggregation of risk factors should be considered so that integrated and tailored prevention activities can be developed and customized to each state’s profile and funds be made appropriately available. States with the highest prevalence of 2 or 3 risky behaviors should review resource allocation to promote health more effectively.
The Long-Term Care Challenge: Developing a Plan Can Lead to Greater Confidence (PDF)
Source: Insured Retirement Institute
With an aging society, the need for long-term care will grow. According to the Census Bureau, the number of individuals age 85 and older is projected to increase by 52% over the next 20 years. Census data also show that individuals age 80 and older are most at need for long-term care. In 2010, 71% had a disability, 56% had a severe disability, and 30% only needed some assistance with daily living. Another study shows among individuals age 65 in 2005, 69% will experience a need for some type of long-term care during the balance of their lives with the average duration of needed care reaching three years. IRI data shows that most Americans find these figures intimidating. Only 24% of Baby Boomers and 28% of Generation Xers (Gen-Xers) are extremely or very confident they will have enough money to cover their own long-term care expenses.
In addition to planning for their own long-term care needs, many American families are struggling to cope with the long-term care needs and expenses of their parents. IRI has found that confidence levels are even lower regarding the ability to meet the long-term care costs of parents. Among Boomers, IRI found that only 14% are extremely or very confident they will have enough money for the long-term care expenses of their parents and only 21% of Gen-Xers have that confidence.
The long-term care issue is not all doom and gloom. As with most aspects of life, these costs can be managed with proper planning. In fact, IRI has found that confidence levels increase when working with an advisor to develop a plan to meet the costs of long-term care. Among Boomers, for example, IRI found that confidence levels in having enough money for longterm care costs increased about 58% for those who work with an advisor. This report will present data on the costs involved with long-term care. It will examine confidence levels among Boomers and Gen-Xers, noting the particular concerns for women regarding long-term care. The report concludes with an overview of various government programs and financial products to help individuals cover the costs of long-term care.
Aging, Financial Literacy, and Fraud
Source: Social Science Research Network
We use a unique dataset to examine the financial literacy of older Americans and its importance for their financial decision making. The aging of the population and the shift to individual retirement accounts make this topic of growing importance to individual and societal well-being. First, we test how cognitive changes associated with aging impact financial literacy. We find that a decrease in cognition is associated with a decrease in financial literacy. A decrease in cognition also predicts a drop in self-confidence in general, but importantly, it does not predict a decrease in confidence in managing one’s own finances or in one’s financial knowledge. In fact, a decrease in cognition predicts increased overconfidence about one’s financial knowledge. Second, we test the hypothesis that overconfidence is a significant risk factor for being victimized by financial fraud. Financial fraud is a major threat to older Americans that is growing rapidly. We find that overconfidence in one’s financial knowledge is a significant predictor. A one standard deviation increase in overconfidence increases the odds of falling victim to fraud by 38%. The overconfidence of fraud victims is further demonstrated by their increased propensity to hold a concentrated investment. Our results suggest that increasing the financial awareness of older Americans is likely to help protect them against becoming victims of financial fraud.
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
This paper focuses on an explanation for the large shift over the past two decades in the composition of the income of the aged (65+), increasing the role of earned income and reducing the importance of income from their own assets. We find that the pattern of change is consistently reported in all of the major household surveys. The increase in the importance of labor income can be attributed to delayed exit from the labor force by workers at older ages. We attribute the increase in work time to a rise in the proportion of more educated workers who choose to continue working, changes within the pension system that previously encouraged early retirement, and a decline in the availability of retiree health insurance. The increase in work time is concentrated among the highest income groups and those with the most education, suggesting that it is largely voluntary. The fall in asset income can be traced to lower interest rates and a reduced propensity for the aged to convert their wealth to annuities. It does not reflect reduced wealth at older ages. A measure of the annuity equivalent of their wealth holdings suggests that there has been no decline for aged units. We also find only a weak relationship between changes in asset income and the decision to remain in the workforce.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the percentage of households headed by older adults has grown significantly over the last half century. The share of householders age 75 and older grew from 6 percent in 1960 to 10 percent in 2012.
In 1960, 32 percent of all households in the country were headed by 30- to 44-year-olds (see Figure 1). However, by 2012, the percentage of these households had fallen to 26 percent, after peaking at 34 percent in 1990. The share of households headed by older adults expanded as the number of 45- to 64-year-old householders shrank in the 1980s and 1990s but began growing again in 2000. These households now make up 39 percent of households in 2012.
These statistics come from America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012, a series of tables from the 2012 Current Population Survey. The tables provide a look at the socio-economic characteristics of families and households at the national level. A series of 13 graphs showing historical trends are also available with these estimates.
“These changes are related to baby boomers, that large segment of the American population born between 1946 and 1964,” said Jonathan Vespa, a demographer with the Census Bureau’s Fertility and Family Statistics Branch. “As they moved through young adulthood to middle age, and now into older adulthood, we can see an accordion-like effect on the age groups as they expand and shrink.”
A large proportion of older householders live alone (see Figure 2). In 2012, more than half of householders 75 and older lived alone, compared with almost a quarter of householders under age 30.
The Baby Boom Generation has fueled much of the growth in travel over the past 40 years—both in the number of travelers and in the amount of travel per person. This paper describes economic, residential, and cultural changes at the center of this historic growth in travel, through analysis of four decades of travel data.
Baby boomers started driving at a young age, and both young men and women entered the workforce with more education than previous generations. Many boomers acquired “his” and “hers” cars, spread a housing boom to the suburban fringes, and, with the advent of dual-earner families, “outsourced” household support such as day care and eating out, that required travel. As a result, the number of vehicles nearly tripled during the past four decades, travel rates have more than doubled, and total vehicle miles of travel grew at more than twice the rate of population growth. Since 1977, travel for household maintenance trips (nonwork) grew fivefold.
More recently, year-over-year increases in vehicle miles of travel has stalled. Researchers and policymakers wonder if these declines indicate a historic turning point or are simply a product of the economic downturn that will rebound when the economy recovers. Are the baby boomers, after decades of high vehicle use, shifting some of their travel to other means? Another question is how the retirement of boomers will influence the broad range of senior transportation strategies that address the travel needs of older adults. To meet evolving transportation needs, both public and private investments will be needed, as well as continued research in new technologies and individual mobility planning.