Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 80 Page 81 Page 82 Page 83 Page 84 Page 85 Page 86 Page 87 Page 88 Page 89 Page 90 Page 91 Page 92 Page 93 Page 94 Page 95 Page 96 Page 97 Page 98 Page 99 Page 100 Page 101 Page 102 Page 103 Page 104 Page 105 Page 106 Page 107 Page 108AGING IN THE 21S T CENTURY 26 Rehkoph et al. (2011) also estimate unused capacity for work at older ages. They construct four categories: working, not working with a major im- pairment, not working with a minor impairment, and not working with no impairment. Major im- pairment is defined as one or more difficulties with activities of daily living (ADLs) or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) and minor impair- ment as inability to do at least one of these activ- ities: walk several blocks, climb a flight of stairs, sit for two hours, and stoop, kneel, or crouch. Over 30% of men and over 35% of women older than 65 are not working but have no physical impairment. Fifty percent of men aged 70 to 74 are not working and have either one or no limitations. For women aged 70 to 74, the proportion with potential work capacity is nearly 60%. Comparing the AHEAD, Children of the Depression, HRS, and War Baby cohorts, Gordo (2011) finds successively lower rates of disability at similar ages across these birth cohorts. Other evidence suggests that this trend may not be continuing in later birth cohorts. Early Baby Boomers perceive their health as slightly worse than the two earlier cohorts. Declines in physical limitations through the 1980s and 1990s appear to have slowed since 2000 (Freedman et al. 2013). Between 2000 and 2008, those aged 55 to 64 report a slight increase in physical limita- tions with no change for adults aged 65 to 74 and 75 to 84. However, the oldest-old — age 85 and older — are making gains. Health behaviors and related health condi- tions may help explain some of the flattening of progress in reducing disability. Figure 1-4 shows the increasing prevalence of obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) greater than 29, for men and women over the period 1998 to 2012. Weir (2007) compares younger and older birth cohorts and finds that obesity increased by 7% for men and nearly 10% for women in the Early Baby Boomer cohort compared to the original HRS cohort. Smoking decreased, which is reflected in the lower rates of lung conditions. But conditions associated with overweight, such as diabetes and arthritis, are on the rise. In a similar analysis, Soldo et al. (2007) finds that Early Baby Boomers report more difficulty with everyday tasks as well as more pain, more chronic conditions, more alcohol use and depression than the original HRS cohort at comparable ages. Of course, the life history of younger cohorts is yet to come, and some evidence suggests that improvements in medical treatment may improve the health status of younger cohorts as they age (Weir 2007). While the majority of men and women in their 50s and early 60s are in good health with no work-limiting disability, the percentage that experience poor health and work limitations is significant. Figure 1-5 shows that of those who retired between 2012 and 2014, 22% cite poor health as a very important reason for retiring. The next section reviews some of what HRS tells us about health and physical functioning at older ages that may be especially relevant for the question of how long we can work. Chronic Disease and Disability Physical functioning decreases as we age, and a range of issues can put people at higher risk of decline. Diseases like arthritis may lower the age at which limitations begin. Covinsky et al. (2008) study the onset over 10 years of persistent phys- ical limitations in the original HRS cohort. They select participants with no physical limitations 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 Men Women FIGURE 1-4  Trends in obesity prevalence by gender: 1998-2012 Source: HRS 1998-2014.