Forum offers stats on well-being of elderly

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

AgingStats.gov is an often-overlooked federal clearinghouse of aging-related data from the Federal Interagency Forum on Age-Related Statistics. It focuses on summary reports.

Its latest effort, Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being (174-page PDF), summarizes 37 key indicators it believes are broadly relevant and easy to understand. By my count, 24 of those are explicitly health-related.

Everything is illustrated with an abundance of charts and maps, and an emphasis on bulleted summary and analysis helps keep things accessible. Those looking for a deeper dive into the summary numbers will want to head to the appendix.

As part of its health sections, the report contains seven “Health Status” indicators, including chronic health conditions, depressive symptoms, sensory impairments and oral health, and functional limitations.

One example:

life

It also includes eight “Health Risks and Behaviors” – things like diet, air quality, mammography and vaccinations – and nine “Health Care” indicators, including expenditures, prescription drugs and residential services.

The forum, which nobody seems to refer to by the acronym FIFARS, has been around since 1986. Participants include the Census Bureau, a number of Health and Human Services departments (AHRQ, CMS, NCHS and others), HUD, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the EPA, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Social Security Administration.

Thanks to AHCJ member Eileen Beal for suggesting this as a tool other members might find helpful.

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