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Sunday 23 October 2016

Life expectancy climbs by 9pc to 84 for Irish people aged 65

Published 11/09/2015 | 02:30

The positive life expectancy figures come alongside even better figures for healthy life years (HLY) for over-65s. Photo: PA
The positive life expectancy figures come alongside even better figures for healthy life years (HLY) for over-65s. Photo: PA

The life expectancy of Irish people aged 65 rose by 9pc over the period between 2004 and 2013 according to the latest figures from Eurostat.

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The figures say that those aged 65 in Ireland have an average life expectancy of 19.45 years, bringing their overall average life expectancy up to 84.5 years.

The positive life expectancy figures come alongside even better figures for healthy life years (HLY) for over-65s. HLY is defined by Eurostat as the number of years a person is expected to live in a healthy condition.

Eurostat describes a healthy condition as living with the absence of limitations or disabilities.

Between the years of 2004 and 2013 healthy life years increased by 28pc for Irish males aged 65. The figures say Irish males' HLY now stands at 10.9 years. Meaning, on average, they will live to 75.9 years in good health.

Irish females HLY also saw a significant jump between 2004 and 2013 up to 12.1 years. Their HLY increased by 23.5pc in the nine year period and now on average can expect to live to 77 in good health.

While there wasn't a huge gap between Ireland and the UK in terms of healthy life years in 2013, Ireland made huge ground to get on a similar level with the UK.

In contrast to Ireland's jumps of 28pc and 23.5pc for men and women respectively between 2004 and 2013, the UK's HLY only went up by 1.92pc for males and dropped by 6.14pc for females. In the UK 65-year-old males' HLY stood at 10.6 years in 2013 while women's HLY stood at 10.7 years.

Ireland's increase in HLY went against an EU trend which saw the average decrease across the union.

According to Eurostat, healthy living for females in the EU aged 65 stands at 8.6 years, down by 0.4 years since 2005.

Meanwhile, the HLY for men in the EU aged 65 stands at 8.5 years, down 0.1 years since 2005.

Despite encouraging trends in healthy life years Ireland falls behind the EU average when it comes to life expectancy.

Life expectancy for females in the EU aged 65 now stands at 21.3 years, half a year higher than Ireland's average.

Life expectancy for males aged 65 across the EU stands at 17.9 years, 0.2 years lower than Ireland's average life expectancy for 65-year-old males.

Over the entire time period from 2004 to 2013 the average life expectancy stayed lowest in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Latvia and Croatia. In 2013, the expected number of years left to live for women at the age of 65 ranged from 17.9 years in Bulgaria to 23.6 years in France.

According to a recent study carried out at the University of Washington, Ireland is ranked 25th in the world for high life expectancy.

While Eurostat's figures say that an Irish person aged 65 in 2013 can expect to live to 84.45, the Washington University study says that the average life expectancy across Ireland is 80.4 years, 0.6 years lower than the UK. The survey also found that countries with the highest life expectancy are Japan, Singapore, Andorra, Iceland, Cyprus and Israel.

The lead author of the survey, Professor Theo Vos, said that improvements had been made in health across the world but that further investment was needed in prevention of major illnesses and disabilities.

The study revealed that HIV/AIDS was the fastest-growing cause of health loss since 1990.

Irish Independent

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