January 26, 2010

IRELAND: Longer life in prospect as ageing population set to grow

. DUBLIN, Ireland / The Irish Times / Life / Society / January 26, 2010 By Eithne Donnellan, Health Correspondent THERE WILL be more than 8,500 people over the age of 100 living in Ireland in 30 years’ time, according to a report published yesterday. The Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (Cardi) says that while there were 620 centenarians in Ireland in 2006, this is expected to rise to more than 8,500 by 2041. And there won’t be just a bigger demand for cheques from the President to mark these birthdays, there will also be a greater need for pensions, with the number of people aged 65 and over projected to rise from about 700,000 to 1.89 million by 2041, an increase of 169 per cent. Photo credit: friendsoftheelderly.ie Furthermore, the number of people aged 75 and over will reach almost one million by 2041, three times the number living now. And even more dramatic is the change projected in the 85-plus population, which will rise almost fivefold from 74,000 in 2006 to 356,000 in 2041. The Cardi document points out though that as older people live longer they can expect to spend more of their later years in poor health. It says while in 1999 Irish men aged 65 could expect to live another 14 years with 4.7 of these in poorer health, by 2007 their life expectancy had increased by 17 years, but they could expect to experience ill health for 7.5 of these. The pattern is similar for women. In 1999, Irish women aged 65 could expect to live another 17.6 years with 6.6 of these in poor health, while their life expectancy had increased by 20 years by 2007 but with 9.7 of these in bad health. Some differences in trends among older people on different sides of the Border are noted in the report, Illustrating Ageing in Ireland North and South . It shows the number of people over the age of 60 in work in the North continued to rise, but that the corresponding figure fell by 7,000 in the Republic. [rc] © 2010 irishtimes.com