The Health of the 55+ in Europe

The Health of the 55+ in Europe

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How are European seniors? Are they in good health? Do they feel healthy? What do they die of?

Young seniors are still in very good health at 55 and generally do not feel their age: they are not retired yet, sometimes children still live at home, etc. The proportion of individuals who feel in good health decreases with age. The first chronic diseases start appearing at 60, without impacting daily life. Health issues impacting daily life come towards 70. For more details on the phases in the lives of seniors, click on the following link: Seniors’ Stages of Life.

There are, however, significant gaps between countries which should be noted. Young seniors are more likely to declare themselves in very good health in Belgium (19% of the 55-64 -year-olds) and in the United Kingdom (22%) than in France or Germany (respectively 12% and 7%).Likewise in France and Germany, the older seniors are more likely to declare themselves as suffering from ill health (Respectively 26% and 24% of the 85 and over) than in the United Kingdom (12%).The differences between countries, concerning the health condition perceived doesn’t always correspond to the actual health conditions.

The healthy life years is an indicator that measures the number of years left to live without limitation to the gestures of daily life. This indicator combines information on mortality and morbidity (number of individuals suffering from a disease). In 2014, the French who had reached the age of 65 could expect to live another 10.4 years for men and 10.7 years for women. This is slightly less than in Belgium but more than in Germany or the United Kingdom, while the young British seniors declare themselves more often in very good health than the French at the same age.

expected healthy life at the age of 65 (2014)
Source : Eurostat, tespm120

If you concentrate on the proportion of obese seniors in the various countries, it is twice as high in the United Kingdom (33% of 45-64 men, 28% of women) as in France (15% regardless of gender for the same age bracket). When they are asked whether they have difficulties completing certain tasks in their daily lives, seniors are also more or less pessimistic depending on the country. 72% of French 65+ declare having difficulties, against 57% of Belgians in the same age bracket. Concerning diabetes, more Germans declare suffering from it, with 20% of the 75-84-year-old seniors, against 12% of the Belgians and 14% of the French.

Causes of Death of European Seniors

Finally, the causes of deaths inform us on the age when diseases take their heaviest toll. For example, deaths between 55 and 59 are more often due to cancer (From 42% Germany to 48% in France), while the older we get, the more deaths are due to circulatory diseases (from 27% of deaths in France between 80 and 84, to 44% Germany).

Causes of death between 55 and 59 years old (2013)
Source : Eurostat, chart hlth_cd_aro


Causes of death between 90 and 94 years old (2013)
Source : Eurostat, chart hlth_cd_aro

Find all the statistical data by clicking on the following link: The Health of the 55+ in Europe – data

Source :
– Seniosphère Conseil

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