Healthcare expenditures are one of the biggest retirement costs of living, but a new study suggests that the majority of expenses are coming from unlikely sources. Research from the American Public Health Association (APHA) found that spending on medications to combat signs of aging - such as hair loss and alertness - ranked third in prescription drug costs for 2011.
The results continue a recent trend that has seen seniors spend more money combating physical changes that are a natural part of growing older than traditional medical issues. Specifically, spending was up 18.5 percent compared to 2010 - and between 2006 and 2011, such expenditures rose 46 percent. In fact, spending on these medications was only surpassed by drugs to treat chronic conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol.
"There is no doubt that pharmaceutical advances and greater awareness have improved the quality of life for many aging Americans," said Dr. Glen Stettin, Express Scripts senior vice president of Clinical, Research and New Solutions. "What was not known, until now, is the significant cost associated with treating these conditions."
Luckily, there are some non-medical options for seniors to combat the signs of aging. Physical activity, for instance, can ward off cognitive decline, while colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fish can help maintain healthy skin.