Sunday, 5 February 2017

Prolonged Life Expectancy

by Francesca Dellafera

Surely it is a fantastic gift when your grandparents or older friends live well into their 90s? However research has shown that their extended lives may just be causing a problem. The elderly, given their due, do need to have help and support, but they are also consequently draining the state of their resources due to to their priorities they receive. This can include things such as bus passes, pensions and extensive medical care. 

However, this does not mean that they do not deserve the aid. In many hospitals, there is more to be seen of older than of younger people. And this is because the life of an older person holds more fragility and vulnerability to it, which helps to contribute to the unavailability of hospital beds and the fewer hours obtainable to us to visit GPs. I am by no means saying that they should not take priority, but that the older they get the more our population grows. Is this really a good thing?

One could, however, say that when the elderly become unable to any longer care for themselves, they should move to a care home. The care home itself provides a source of employment and allows a younger person to volunteer and gain real-world experience. You could also say that due to increasing investment in medical care, there is a marked increase in the average life expectancy.

Life expectancy rose in Britain in the late 19th century. By 1900, in Britain, life expectancy was 47 for a man and about 50 for a woman. Things continued to improve in Britain in the early 20th century. In particular death in earlier years became far less common and, by the early 1930s, life expectancy for a man at birth was about 60. Already between the 19th and 20th century, the life expectancy of a man had risen by 13 years. 

This was because of the continued development in Britain, with the living standards of working class rising substantially since the Industrial Revolution. Things, however, have risen more slowly since then and, in 2015, life expectancy was 79 for a man in the UK and 83 for a woman. This clear difference since the 1900 goes to show that the elderly evidently are stronger than they look and that they are not prolonging the inevitable!

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