Categorized | Anti-Aging

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Statistics And Ageing

‘Heard it! Heard it!’ are the words that a stand-up comic doesn’t want to hear during a routine. My apologies if you’ve heard (or read) some of what’s reproduced below, but I reckon it’s worthy of your attention, even if some of it is old news. I’ll leave you to figure out the implications for yourself and others. Here goes…

An ageing population is a notable demographic characteristic of most developed countries. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Australia’s population is ageing.

We’re living longer, too: life expectancy is increasing. In the 1960s, for example, life expectancy at birth was 74 years for girls, and 67 years for boys. Now, girls born in 2013 can expect to live to the age of 84, and boys to 80.

Based on population projections by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, by 2064 there will be 9.6 million people aged 65 and over (23% of Australia’s projected population), and 1.9 million aged 85 and over (5%). Back in 1972, people aged 65 and over comprised 8 per cent of the population. In 2012 that figure rose to 14 per cent. Over the same period, the proportion aged under 25 fell from almost half (46 per cent) to one-third (32 per cent) of the population.

Over the past twenty years in Australia, the number of people aged 85+ years has increased by 153% to approximately 457,000 (almost twice as many females as males), compared with a total population growth of 32% over the same period. Over the same period, the number of centenarians increased by 263% (approximately 500 people) to reach 4,100. There were almost four times as many females as males in this age group.

Increased lifespans and older age generally result in increased ill health. Many health conditions and associated impairments, such as arthritis, dementia, and hearing loss, become more common as people get older. Most older Australians, however, consider themselves to be in good health enabling them to enjoy a good quality of life for longer and to participate fully in the community.

In 2010-11, the federal, state, and territory governments spent almost $37 billion on seniors, in the form of pensions and other payments. Pensions and other government payments were the main source of income for 1 in 4 households.

In 2013, a significant percentage of deaths (29%) among older Australians were due to one of three underlying causes – coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular diseases that includes stroke, or dementia and Alzheimer disease.

Enough of these statistics. Keep in mind the words of Robert Frost who, in the twilight of his life, was asked what he’s learnt about life. He replied, ‘It goes on’.

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