65-year-olds live longer without physical limitations, but suffer more from chronic diseases

07/09/2012 15:00

The life expectancy for 65-year-olds has risen over the past three decades. They live longer and the period, during which they define their health as good after reaching the age of 65 is also longer. The number of years spent without physical limitations is increasing. On the other hand, the period they have to deal with physical limitations is longer too.

Higher life expectancy

Last year, the life expectancy of 65-year-old men was 18.3 years versus 14.3 years in 1981. Their prospects have improved relative to three decades ago. The life expectancy for 65-year-old women rose less rapidly from 18.9 years in 1981 to 21.3 in 2011, but, on average, women still become older than men.

Life expectancy 65-year-olds

Life expectancy 65-year-olds

Fewer years without chronic diseases

The average life expectancy for a 65-year-old man is 18.3 years; he can expect to live nearly 11 years in good health and nearly 14 years without physical limitations. Both periods have increased since the early 1980s. The period without physical limitations has increased by 4.3 years, i.e. more than total life expectancy, but the period without chronic diseases will be shorter for the average 65-year-old man (6.9 years in 1981 versus 3.8 years in 2011). Common disorders are osteoarthritis, diabetes, migraine or heart condition.

Healthy life expectancy 65-year-old men

Healthy life expectancy 65-year-old men

Women live 5 years longer without physical limitations

The average life expectancy for 65-year-old women is 21.3 years; they can expect to live for another 13.4 years without physical limitations. For women too, this period has increased since the early 1980s, but with 5 years, the increase was significantly higher than the total life expectancy increase for women. On average, the period without chronic diseases will also be reduced for 65-year-old women compared to thirty years ago; from 7.4 years to 3.6 years. The number of years women can expect to live in good health has hardly changed.

Healthy life expectancy 65-year-old women

Healthy life expectancy 65-year-old women

Jan-Willem Bruggink