One in Nine Seniors Still Feel Uncertain about Life, Despite Age and Wisdom

New research suggests that despite the wisdom that comes with age, one in nine Americans aged 64 and older admit to still not having life completely figured out.

A survey of 2,000 Americans aged 64 and older challenges the notion that older individuals have all the answers, with more than half stating that they feel the expectation to possess wisdom (57%).

Fifty-four percent of respondents revealed that they frequently experience pressure to make the best decisions, while nearly one-fifth of participants agree that decision-making becomes more challenging as they grow older (17%).

One in seven seniors admitted to prioritizing their wants over their needs, indicating an area where external assistance would be beneficial.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ClearMatch Medicare, unveiled that two-thirds of seniors consult others before making significant decisions (67%). However, relying on others can be daunting, with 26% of respondents identifying it as one of the most intimidating aspects of aging.

Seniors previously felt confident in making major financial purchases (29%) and investment decisions (28%) independently. However, they now seek consultation from others before finalizing such choices (31% and 35%, respectively).

Furthermore, seniors expressed a willingness to seek help in areas related to their health, such as selecting a healthcare plan (27%) or modifying their diet (18%).

In terms of seeking guidance, seniors most often place their trust in their partners (44%), as they are viewed as the least judgmental (31%) and most supportive (32%) individuals in their lives. Additionally, trust is also extended to children (37%) and friends (29%).

Seniors encountered challenges in finding their “perfect match” across various aspects of life in the past five years. Forty percent of respondents found themselves committed to something that wasn’t the right fit for them.

Common struggles encompassed finding a suitable workout routine (20%), defining personal style (17%), locating appropriate healthcare (20%), and identifying the right doctor (19%).

“As we age, making informed Medicare decisions becomes crucial for both health and financial well-being,” explained Ben Pajak, CEO of ClearMatch Medicare. “No one should feel alone when making such a significant decision. Options exist to assist in making the right choice, whether by relying on trusted individuals or professionals with a comprehensive understanding of different plans. This ensures selection of the best coverage options that align with unique healthcare needs and budget.”

While making tough choices, seniors acknowledged that mistakes do occur. On average, Americans aged 64 and older admitted to repeating the same mistake twice before learning from it, often leading to “buyer’s remorse” three times within the past year.

Seniors face obstacles in learning from their mistakes when overthinking outcomes (22%), struggling to identify the cause of failure (21%), difficulty accepting being wrong (18%), and finding viable solutions (17%).

Respondents offered valuable insights on how to learn from mistakes, emphasizing the importance of understanding what went wrong (28%), recognizing areas for improvement (28%), and maintaining an open mind (23%).

Seniors expressed the desire to have test-driven certain aspects of life before making decisions, including apartments (18%), life paths (22%), and even doctors (23%).

Given the chance, 67% of seniors admitted they would change their health insurance plan after realizing it didn’t suit their needs.

Jennifer Girdler, Vice President of Sales at HealthPlanOne, remarked, “It’s evident that seniors continually seek to find their ‘perfect match’ across all areas of life. In fact, 55% of individuals with health insurance expressed a desire for a ‘second chance’ to switch plans to find one that better aligns with their needs within 60 days or less. Many may not be aware that the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period, which currently extends until March 31, offers an opportunity for those in a Medicare Advantage plan to make one more change before the fall annual enrollment period. This is a second chance to find the right match.”


  • Cars – 33%
  • Electronics – 24%
  • Doctors – 23%
  • Life path – 22%
  • Restaurants – 19%
  • Appliances/furniture – 18%
  • Apartments/homes – 18%
  • Partner – 18%
  • Clothes – 17%
  • Insurance – 16%


  • “Accept the fact that you made the mistake, find the right solution and move on.”
  • “After you figure out the source of your issue, ask yourself how to get where you prefer to be. Then sleep on it, and the answer will come at some point.”
  • “Be humble, do not feel shame. Own your mistakes, apologize sincerely, and move on.”
  • “Calm yourself and look at the whole picture before coming to terms with the situation.”
  • “Do not let pride get in the way.”
  • “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Trust your judgment but ask others to help when needed.”
  • “Think about both positive and negative consequences for any important decision.”
  • “Just roll with the punches and don’t second-guess yourself! Enjoy what’s left of your life!”
  • “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will get what you always got.”
  • “Rethink the pros and cons of the situation.”

Survey Methodology:

This survey involved 2,000 Americans aged 64 and older, following a random double-opt-in process. ClearMatch Medicare commissioned the survey between February 16 and February 21, 2023. The study was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are affiliated with the Market Research Society and hold corporate membership in the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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