People Are Living Longer - Especially Women


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It has long been the case that the average life expectancy for women has been higher than for men. Whatever the cause for this discrepancy, a new study has once again confirmed that women tend to be longer-lived.

The study, published today in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, shows that women could make up over 85% of those who reach age 100. This percentage increases to over 89% of those who live to be at least 105.

The study looked at around 1.8 million people over the age of 65 living in Ontario, Canada. Researchers looked at data among this population between 1995 and 2010. They found that the number of people over the age of 100 in the study increased from 1069 to 1842 (over 72%) during that 15-year period. The number of people aged 85 to 99 also increased by nearly 90% during those years.

"Our study highlights that older people are living longer, and women make up a significant proportion of centenarians," said Dr. Paula Rochon, lead author of the study and researcher at Women's College Research Institute. "The predominance of women among those of advanced age challenges us to consider tailoring health and social care to meet their particular needs."

Among the interesting facts uncovered in the study include the fact that 20% of the people in the study lived independently, while over 25% used public home care. Though 95% of those in the study saw a primary care provider (this is Canada, remember), only 5.3% had a geriatrician.

"We need a better understanding of who centenarians are, and how and when they use the health care system in order to improve their health service delivery," said Rochon.