Old Age is a Bugger

My parents were born in the 1920’s and are now old and frail. Thanks to improvements in medical care, they have outlived their own parents’ lives by several decades. In the last few weeks, my mother and father have each endured an emergency admission to hospital having been rushed by ambulance to A&E. They are now both safely installed back in the care of the nursing home.

A report published this week by the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI), has shown that while life expectancy in Ireland has increased significantly during the 20th century, our later years are likely to be spent in poor health. The report emphasises the need for further research to ensure that sufficient planning is undertaken so that adequate policies and services are in place for older people.

The CARDI report revealed that since the 1920s, Irish men have increased their life expectancy by around 20 years, while women have extended their average life span by 24-25 years. A man can now expect to live to 76.8 years while a womanΒ  can look forward to making it to 81.6 years.

Our expectations have certainly changed. Not so long ago, 64 was considered old. Remember this song?

By 2041, it’s estimated that the number of people aged 75 and over, will reach almost one million. That’s three times the number living now. And the number of people who make it to 85 and beyond, could increase five-fold.

The number of years a man can expect to live in poor health, has risen from 9.5 in 1999 to 14.7 in 2007. And for women, the projected years of bad health have increased from 11.3 years to 16.8 years.

In other words, these figures show that while we’re successful at keeping people alive for longer, we’ve not managed to extend healthy life spans to the same extent. Do you have an opinion on this?

If all this talk of old age is getting you down, let me remind you of the famous quote by Maurice Chevalier (New York Times, 9 October 1960)…

Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.”

8 Responses to Old Age is a Bugger

  1. Grannymar says:

    I can wait! πŸ˜‰

  2. Nancy says:


    I enjoyed listened to “When I’m 64 ” again. It means a lot to me because I have been with my husband for 64 years already!

    We will be married 60 years in September and we “Courted” for 4 years before we got married.

    He is now 82 and I am 81 and we have been together since he was 17 and I was 16. When I write that I can hardly believe it myself.

    P.S. If I knew then that you were my cousin, I would have invited you to the wedding….

    Cousin Nancy

  3. Steph says:

    Grannymar – You and I have the likes of Nancy to thank for giving us women a life expectancy of 81.6 years. Remember, this is an average so please don’t go falling off your perch too soon, thereby reducing my life expectancy! πŸ˜‰

    Nancy – Oh, dear! 😐 If my figures are right, you’ve only got 4 months left! πŸ˜‰

    In all seriousness, you are a perfect example of why we should celebrate old age. You are truly amazing! What’s your secret, pretty please?

    P.S. I wasn’t even a twinkle in my Dad’s eye when you got married. He’ll be 90 in March… hopefully!

  4. Nancy says:

    ” I wasn’t even a twinkle in my Dad’s eye when you got married…..”

    Is that why you didn’t come to the wedding?

  5. Steph says:

    Nancy – πŸ˜† Cousin Steph xxx

    P.S. I forgot to mention… my parents will also be 60 years married this year (in November)…hopefully!

  6. Annb says:

    Gasp this means our kids could live ’till they’re in their 100’s – scary thought. I hope they have good broadband connections in all areas of the country by then, otherwise there could be some pretty pissed off senior digital natives knocking around!!

  7. Baino says:

    Same issue here of course. Only this week K Rudd announced a total revamp of the health system to cope with our huge ‘ageing’ population. I think it involves importing lots of young people from Ireland to pay for it! πŸ™‚

  8. Steph says:

    Ann – Did you see this?… http://www.apple.com/ipad/

    I want, I want, I want!

    Old age will never be the same again!

    Baino – ‘Hands off’ the youth of this country. We need them more than you do but if you’d like to import some of our wealthy drug peddling scumbags, you’re more than welcome to them!

    At least your country is doing something positive about it’s ageing population. Our health service is already on it’s knees from our government’s failure to recognise and provide for the needs of OAP’s. Goodness knows what it’ll be like by the time our generation needs full-time care!

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