BBC News recently commented on a study published in the Lancet journal that shows more than half the babies now born in the UK and other wealthy nations will live to be 100 years old.  The data from the study indicates that these extra years would be spent with less serious disabilities for the elderly.

The researchers, from the Danish Aging Research Center, refer to “four ages of man”-child, adult, young old age and old old age. Surprisingly, there was little evidence that those who belonged in the old old age group were unhealthier that those in the young old age group likely because the frailest elderly died first leaving the more robust to survive past the age of 85. Danish and American studies show that about 30%-40% of those falling into the old old group live independently.

Of course, such a development requires countries to reform their health-care services, employment practices, and care services. In the U.K., with an election looming, the Tory party has promised a Home Protection Plan that would allow people at the age of 65 to make a one time payment plan of £8,000 pounds in exchange for free full-time residential care in later life. This proposed policy addresses the issue of the elderly having to sell their houses in exchange for funding care giving services.

A significant longer life expectancy requires careful retirement and estate planning. If this trend towards increased life expectancy continues, long standing assumptions will have to be altered.

Thanks for reading,

Diane Vieira

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