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Women spend 17 years of their lives feeling ill

Irish people are getting sick for longer despite improved life expectancy, new research says.

The average time men and women are ill has jumped around a half, according to the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland.

A cross-border study found that in 1999 men in the Republic could expect to be unwell an average of around 10 years, but by 2007 that figure jumped to almost 15.

Similarly, the amount of time women experienced ill-health jumped from just over 11 years to almost 17.

The North has shown a slight improvement in healthy life, but lags behind Britain in the extent of sickness and disability among its population.


Since the 1920s the number of years a man can expect to live, north and south, surged by a fifth, while for a woman it jumped by up to a quarter.

The report, Illustrating Ageing in Ireland North and South, also shows:

  • The number of people aged over 65 is projected to rise from 700,000 now to nearly 1,900,000 in 2041.

  • The number of people over the age of 85 could increase five-fold to 355,000.

The report also shows older workers in the North have been more successful in weathering the recession.

The number of people over the age of 60 still in work north of the border continued to rise through the first year of the downturn, but the number in the Republic fell by 7,000.