Today’s sixtysomethings are healthier than ever

9th of February 2015

People in their 60s are much healthier than a decade ago, with serious illness among the newly retired falling by almost half.The baby-boom generation has effectively delayed the start of old age, according to a report which says this has given the NHS a “huge let-off” but warns of big problems to come.Better diet, more exercise and drugs such as statins have helped to cut the proportion of people in their 60s and 70s with serious health problems, mainly through a fall in heart attacks. Although today’s older people are healthier overall, there are rising levels of sickness in the over-80s.In 2012, 13.6 per cent of over-50s had a serious illness, down from 15.8 per cent in 2002, according to a report by the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) published today. Only 7.7 per cent of those aged 60-64 have cancer, dementia or Parkinson’s or have survived a heart disease or stroke, compared with 13.8 per cent ten years before. Among 65-69-year-olds, 11.7 per cent have a serious illness, down from 17.3 per cent.Ros Altmann, the government’s older workers champion, said: “It’s fantastic news. Most people in their 60s will not be old in the conventional sense any more.”David Sinclair, director of ILC-UK, said: “The research shows that even over a short period of time, we have successfully reduced serious illness among older people. But we must not be complacent. Our ageing society is going to put increasing pressure on the NHS over the next ten years.”

The Times