Thursday 24 January 2019

Number of people aged over 65 will double in 20 years

Jim Egan Picture: Collins Photos
Jim Egan Picture: Collins Photos

Alan O'Keeffe

The number of people aged over 65 in Ireland is expected to double to more than one million within two decades.

Department of Health figures on key trends in 2017 revealed Ireland's population is ageing faster than the European Union average.

Since 2008, the number of people aged over 65 in Ireland increased by 34pc.

Over the past decade, the life expectancy of people living in Ireland has increased by two-and-a-half years.

Ireland's birth rate has been falling each year since 2009, but fertility rates here remain the second highest in Europe, behind France.

Survival rates for cancer are improving in Ireland, but our death rate from respiratory diseases is 38pc higher than the EU average.

Health Minister Simon Harris said the new figures showed "the continued reduction in mortality rates from main causes of death such as heart disease, stroke and cancer".

Overall, the number of people aged 65 and over will grow from one-fifth to more than one-third of the working population over the next 20 years.

Meanwhile, it emerged a record 308 organ transplants were carried out in Irish hospitals this year.

The minister will today launch a report that shows that a large majority of respondents expressed agreement with a proposed opt-out system for organ donation.

Professor Jim Egan, director of Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland, said: "Our message is simple, organ donation saves lives.

"Thanks to the generosity of 98 families donating the organs of their loved ones, 308 people have received the gift of life through transplant surgery to date in 2017.

"The excellent rates of organ donation and transplantation in 2017 reflect the generosity of Irish society.

"Most importantly, I acknowledge the courage and generosity of families who have donated their loved one's organs."

The organ transplant operations included Beaumont Hospital with 190 kidney transplants; and St Vincent's University Hospital with 61 liver transplants and five pancreas transplants.

Mr Harris expressed his thanks, and said: "I can only imagine the relief and joy brought to the over 300 organ recipients and their families and friends."

Irish Independent

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