Looks like we’re living longer and staying more fit and healthy as we get older, says a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recently. Researchers found an increase our years living free of disability – great news as we all now live to a riper, older age as well, according to the statistics.
The report predicts that of children born today, boys could expect to live an average of 80 years, and girls could expect to live an average of 85 years. Significantly though, the report showed that on average:
- men at 65 now can expect to live around another 20 years, and
- women at 65 can look forward to just over another 22 years.
To quote Groucho Marx, ‘Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough.’ However, life expectancy is an interesting statistic, but our wellbeing as we get older is also significant. For keeping tabs on healthy aging, looking at life expectancies at 65 was appropriate.
And the great news is the report found Australians aged 65 in 2015 have seen increases in the number of years living free of disability. So it seems living longer doesn’t necessarily mean living with increasing disability! Care to dance?
Although definitions of ‘disability’ change, it’s an umbrella term for participation restriction which last more than 6 months and restrict everyday activities.
When it comes to disability after 65:
- men can expect to live another 9 years without disability, and
- women on average another 10 years disability-free.
- men aged 65 in 2015 could ‘expect to live, on average, around 10 years with some level of disability, including 3 years with severe or profound core activity limitation and needing help with 1 or more activities of self-care, mobility and communication.’
- Women are better off and could expect to live around an additional 10 years free of disability but could experience around 12 years with some level of disability. This equates to women living around half their remaining life after 65 with some disability, including living 25 percent with severe or profound core activity limitation.
All–in-all, it seems Australians who reach the age of 65 gained, on average, more years without severe or profound core activity limitation than years with it. Great news, it seems we are living longer, and staying more fit and able!
Full details of the ‘Life expectancy and disability in Australia: expected years living with and without disability’ at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare