Elderly people live independently to increasingly older ages

12/07/2011 15:00

Although the number of elderly people in the Netherlands is growing rapidly, the number of them living in care and nursing homes is decreasing. The share of old people living alone and living with a partner are rising.

Elderly people registered in a care or nursing home

Elderly people registered in a care or nursing home

More elderly people, fewer in homes

The number of people aged 80 or older rose from 500 thousand to 648 thousand between 2000 and 2010. In the same period, the number of over-80s registered in a care or nursing home according to the municipal population registration fell from 102 thousand to 90 thousand. As a result, the share of over-80s living in an institutional household fell substantially, from 20 to 14 percent. The decrease occurred in all age groups.

The average age of men in care homes (nearly 82 years) has been fairly constant since the turn of the century. For women the average age has risen by 1 year to just over 86 years.

Six out of seven over-80s live independently

Six out of every seven over-80s live independently, some of them with support. With the exception of the highest age group, significantly more women than men live independently. This is because within married couples, the man often dies first. In the course of the years, the share of over-80s living independently has risen among women in particular. They often continue to live independently when they lose their husband. 

Over-80s living alone

Over-80s living alone

Women live alone, men live with a partner

The share of men living independently with a partner in particular has risen considerably in the space of ten years. Today, half of all 87 year-old men still live independently together with a partner. For women of this age, this is only one in nine. The reason for the difference is that men are usually older than their wives, and therefore on average die before them.

Over-80s living together

Over-80s living together
 
Joop Garssen and Carel Harmsen