More older people consult medical specialist and physiotherapist

12/07/2007 15:00

In the past decade, more people in the 50–80 age bracket consulted a medical specialist or physiotherapist, but the GP consultation rate declined. More older women than men seek medical care.

More than half consult medical specialist

Last year, 54 percent of 50 to 80-year-olds consulted a medical specialist at least once a year, as against 50 percent in 1997. The increase is mainly accounted for by older women. The proportion of older women consulting a specialist grew from 50 percent in 1997 to 57 percent in 2006.

The average number of contacts between older people and medical specialists also increased: from 2.4 in 1997 to 2.8 in 2006.

Specialist consultation rate in the older population

Specialist consultation rate in the older population

One quarter of older people go to a physiotherapist

The proportion of older people consulting a physiotherapist at least once a year rose from 21 percent in 1997 to 24 percent in 2006. More older women than men went to a physiotherapist: last year, 28 percent of women aged between 50 and 80, as against 19 percent of men in the same age category.

The frequency of the contacts between older patients and physiotherapists also increased markedly, especially among men: from an average 2.6 contacts in 1997 to 3.4 in 2006.

Physiotherapist consultation rate in the older population

Physiotherapist consultation rate in the older population

Eight in every ten older people consult their GP at least once a year

Some 80 percent of people aged between 50 and 80 consulted their GP at least once in 2006. This is slightly below the level of a decade ago. Fewer older women consulted their GP: 87 percent in 1997 against 83 percent in 2006.

The average number of contacts of older women with their GP declined from 6.2 in 1997 to 5.4 in 2006. A reverse trend is observed among older men: from 3.9 to 4.4.

GP consultation rate in the older population, 1997-2006

GP consultation rate in the older population, 1997-2006

Marleen Wingen