People in the United Kingdom are living longer, but they’re spending their retirement years in poorer health than their parents and grandparents did.
How healthy are our elderly?
The fact that people not just in the UK but across the world are living longer may sound like good news. After all, longevity is a good thing--mostly. We associate longer lives with better health; if someone lives to a ripe old age, they must have been quite healthy, or at least healthy enough to be able to stave off the ravages of old age.
However, there is now a report that living a longer life does not necessarily indicate better health. The report also reveals that there are significant gaps in the life expectancy rates across the UK. 65-year-olds in more affluent areas can expect to live a healthy 14.5 years longer, while 65-year-olds in less affluent areas can expect to live just 6.5 years longer.
Senior citizens are now more likely to have health conditions or disabilities.
“Obviously it is a great social achievement that we have managed to increase life expectancy,” says Dean Hochlaf, one of the authors of the study, “but healthy life expectancy is so crucial for ensuring that there is a better quality of life for older adults. Initiatives, for example, to extend the working life hinge on this idea that we have a healthier older population.”
According to the report, 64-year-olds in the UK today have significantly different lives when compared to the 64-year-olds 45 years ago. 64-year-olds nowadays are more likely to own a home and are more likely to have a degree, but they’re also more likely to have a chronic condition or a disability.
Hopefully, there will be better healthcare for senior citizens.
The differences in life expectancy among particular areas have also been found to be based on factors such as the differences in health, education, skills, and employment. Thus, while the UK has made gains like an increased life span among its citizens, there are also still some areas that need some work. For one thing, older people aren’t living healthier though they’re living longer, and social inequalities are showing in how many healthy additional years of life can be expected by senior citizens.
The report also says that the government as well as employers must make supporting both longer and healthier lives a priority. This way, the authors of the report say, there will potential for success in key policies such as the creation of a sustainable healthcare system.
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