The importance of health in reaching goals

MINNETONKA, Minn. (AP) — In a new survey, nearly 70 percent of Americans ages 62 and older said physical health is most important to them as they age, followed in order by cognitive health (16 percent), social health (13 percent) and financial health (6 percent). While most are feeling good and being proactive to maintain or improve their health, nearly all are worried about ending up sick or hospitalized.

According to a recent UnitedHealthcare survey, older adults say health is the biggest factor to achieving goals in retirement.

To address this, most have made a change in recent years to make themselves feel healthier, with diet and exercise improvements being the top steps people are taking; and 56 percent say they are working to improve or maintain their mental health.

“The findings of this survey validate what we hear from our members about the value they place on health, and the role health plays in fulfilling their goals as they age,” said Ben Kehl, vice president of member experience, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. “At UnitedHealthcare, we want to be an active partner in helping our members live healthy and feel confident in their health care decisions, so they can focus on living a life they love.”

Top Goals for “Retirement” Years Include Recreation, Socialization, Meaningful Work and Good Health.

The survey shines a light on the new generation of retirement-age Americans – many of whom think of their retirement years not as a time to relax and retire, but as a time to dive into their passions and hobbies, and perhaps even start a new type of employment.

Survey respondents said the next stage of their lives is a time for them to:

• Seek new experiences — among those who have goals for retirement, many hope to enjoy extended travel (45 percent), achieve a fitness-related goal (38 percent) and get more involved in their community (26 percent).

• Be healthier — living a healthy life can mean different things – nearly 70 percent reported starting a new routine to make themselves feel healthier, such as a new diet (40 percent), fitness routine (34 percent) or finding volunteer opportunities (11 percent).

• Be social — 75 percent host or attend social gatherings each month. Among those who are socially active, they attend, on average, five social gatherings per month.

• Keep working — 67 percent have not re-entered the workforce since retirement. However, of those who have re-entered the workforce, 50 percent wanted to work again to have something on which to focus their energy, while the remaining 50 percent felt they needed to generate a source of income

“More than 10,000 people turn 65 each day, and they’re bringing a fresh approach to this phase of life,” said Kehl. “We have a unique opportunity to help these people forge a new path and redefine aging. Understanding the goals of our members enables us to design and deliver programs and services that will help them achieve those goals, whether that means staying active, improving health or navigating complex health care needs.”

For more ways to improve health and well-being, visit the UnitedHealthcare Newsroom at

The UnitedHealthcare Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research ( ) among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults, ages 62+, between March 27 and April 3, 2019, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult population ages 62 and older.