Over-65s in England ‘living longer than ever before’


Older people in England are living longer than ever before, a report from Public Health England says.


BBC News reports that figures show that for those aged 65, men can expect to live for another 19 years and women a further 21 years. But there is concern that too many elderly people are living in poor health. And the figures vary across the country, with the North East and North West having lower life expectancies for 65-year-olds than other regions.

Life expectancy among older age groups in England rose to its highest level in 2014 – with male life expectancy increasing by 0.3 years at age 65 and 0.2 years at ages 75, 85 and 95 since 2013. Female life expectancy increased by the same amounts at the same ages. This comes after a fall in life expectancy in some older age groups between 2011 and 2012. The only region where male and female life expectancy did not increase in 2014 was in the North East, where male life expectancy was higher in 2013. Among local authorities in England, the majority showed an increase or no change in life expectancy at age 65 – but one quarter showed a decrease.

Not too late

In the past, statistics have tended to focus on life expectancy at birth but now that most deaths in England occur in people over the age of 80, patterns of mortality in older age groups are becoming more important. Prof John Newton, chief knowledge officer at Public Health England, said the report presented a positive national picture that made achieving “a good quality of life in later years even more important”.

“This report is an opportunity to remind people that, even during mid-life, it is not too late to improve your health,” he said. “Most of us could make changes today, like stopping smoking, being more active or eating better, that would allow us to look forward to healthier later years.” He said it was not clear what had caused the variation in trends between local areas. Danny Dorling, professor of human geography at the University of Oxford, said there was an urgent need to find out why improvements had stalled in many parts of England in recent years.

“Beneath the headline figures of this report, there is evidence of worsening health for many older people in some parts of the country,” he said. In Scotland, life expectancy continued to improve, with 65-year-old men expected to live for a further 17.4 years and women a further 19.7 years, according to the latest statistics. But there are also wide variations across the country.

(Article source: BBC News)

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