Sunday 25 February 2018

Now we can all expect to live to our eighties

The research forecasts that by 2030 women in Ireland will live to 86.1 years, while for men the average lifespan will be 83.2 years. Photo: PA
The research forecasts that by 2030 women in Ireland will live to 86.1 years, while for men the average lifespan will be 83.2 years. Photo: PA
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

New figures show that we're all living longer. Irish men and women can now expect to celebrate their 83rd birthday, while women will, on average, get to 86.

However, the increasing life expectancies will put pressure on health services, social care and pensions, a new study reveals today.

The research forecasts that by 2030 women in Ireland will live to 86.1 years, while for men the average lifespan will be 83.2 years. This compares to life expectancy of 82.5 years for women and 77.9 years for men in 2010.

Life expectancies in developed countries are projected to continue increasing, with women's potentially surpassing 90 years in South Korea by 2030, the research in 'The Lancet' reveals.

It predicts life expectancy is likely to be highest in South Korea (90.8 years), France (88.6) and Japan (88.4) for women, and in South Korea (84.1 years), Australia (84) and Switzerland (84) for men.

The prediction is both a blessing and a burden as more of us can look forward to getting the most out of our golden years.

But an ageing population will put even more strain on the health service, social care and pensions.

The researchers advise that increasing life expectancies will have major implications for health and social services that will need to adapt and will require policies to support healthy ageing, increase investment in health and social care, and possibly changes to retirement age.

Professor Majid Ezzati, of Imperial College London, said: "As recently as the turn of the century, many researchers believed that life expectancy would never surpass 90 years.

"Our predictions of increasing lifespans highlight our public health and healthcare successes."

However, it is important that policies to support the growing older population are in place. Researchers used a statistical technique used in weather forecasting to determine their projections and how certain they are.

Although life expectancy is predicted to increase across all 35 countries studied, it will extend least in Macedonia, Bulgaria, Japan and the US for women.

US life expectancy is already lower than most other high-income countries, and is expected to fall further behind.

This is due to social inequality, absence of universal health insurance, the homicide rate and obesity, said the report.

Irish Independent

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