Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Life Expectancy

Most of these quotes are from around 1999 and are reprints from another article called Cancer rates 1900 to 2000 and beyond. What I found interesting about them are things like how only 1 person in 25 in 1900 survived to age 60. And how on average women lived shorter lives in 1900 than men due to childbirth. It appears with refined food came also increased incidents of cancer. However, likely pollution in the environment and radiation that has spread around the world since the 1940s from nuclear testing, bombs, missiles and nuclear spread from meltdowns and earthquakes are likely a factor in increased cancer rates as well. Another interesting point is that most people didn't get cancer in 1900 because they didn't live long enough to get it.


LIFE EXPECTANCY: (1999) In 1900, the life expectancy was 47 years of age. Only one person in 25 had then survived to age 60. Women lived shorter lives due to childbirth.

In the 1990s, the population growth rate for senior males is outstripping that of senior females, according to Census Bureau data. The male population over the age of 65 increased 11% between 1990 and 1996, while the female population increased 7.5%. During the same time period, the number of men in the age group over 85 rose 27 %, compared with 24 % for women. The ratio of women to men in the age group over 85 narrowed from 3.1:1.9 to 3.1:1.95. Women still dominate the population over 65, but the gap is beginning to narrow. In 1990, women accounted for 60 % of the population over 65; by 1996 that share had declined to 59 %, a notable change in a population of this size over this short period. The increasing number of men in the seniors' housing market could affect developers significantly, particularly in the amenities sought. An increased availability of health care for older Americans through the emergence of Medicare is cited as one factor in the increasing longevity of men, as is a decline in cigarette smoking among older males. (Housing the Elderly Report, April 1998)

OLD- AND GETTING OLDER: (1999) World Population: The global average for life expectancy had increased from 45 to 63 years from the1950's. However, 10% of the population is elderly- over 60 years of age. By 2050, it will increase to 20%.

The majority of people 60 and older, 55%, are women.

Among those 80 or older, 65 percent are women. Japanese women now have a life expectancy of 83, highest in the world. Nine million of the 43 million Americans 60 and older live alone and 80% are women.

Striking differences exist between regions with the elderly: one of five Europeans, for example, is 60 or older, compared to one of 20 Africans. By 2020, 46 percent of women 80 and older will live in Asia.

The American Association for Retired Persons said the Internet has been a boon to the elderly, with 47 percent of all online consumers over 50 and seniors more likely to contact family and others in the cyberspace community, thus reducing any feelings of isolation.

WOMEN AND LIFETIME: (1999) Why women live longer: a doctor at Ball State University indicated that "flexibility, resiliency and connections protect women against early death while men are more often wiped out by their own rigidity, aggression and denial of feelings." The life expectancy for men is now 72 years of age while women live in average of 78.8 years. Men smoke more cigarettes and consume more alcohol. They are three times is likely as women to die from accidents and four times more likely to be homicide victims. And as I a stated previously, white men have the higher suicide rates in the country once they get older than age 65. Many of these men have been insulated from the real world due to their positions of power in a corporation. However, once they retire, there entire powerbase may be gone (if there really ever was one). And they cannot boss their wives around since they have tended to develop more independency as they have gotten older.

In 1900, life expectancy for men was 49.7 years and for women 50.9 years. But by the middle of the century, men could now be expected to live to 65.6 years of age and 71.7 years for women. The increase for women, according to Dr. Crose, was due to women getting into holistic health and balancing their lives while men stayed in the "same old macho" roles. She also noted that while women do suffer more ailments and depression earlier in life, they use such adversity's to build into strength that they use later in life. A most interesting comment was the fact that women tend to be interested in more things and have a variety of emotions where men tend to express only two emotions: they are either fine or mad.

Gail Sheehy also commented about the difficulties of men as they get older. While men chuckle about menopause for women, it appears that men are "much more uncertain about the threat of aging than women. And the basis seems to be the threat of losing their potency in all the areas of their lives."

She noted that men should take a long vacation to review their lives and what they would like to change in the second half of life.

LONGEVITY: (Met Life 1999) "In 1997 life expectancy for all persons combined rose to a new record high of 76.4 years. Additionally, average future lifetime for newborn girls and boys also established new peaks-79.3 years and 73.4 years, respectively. For girls the 1997 value surpassed the previous high of 79.1 years recorded in 1992 and 1996 while for boys new peaks have been consecutively recorded since 1994. Last year's longevity enhancements among men were larger than those for women-continuing the trend of the past few years. end quote.

As a young man growing up I noticed that most men were completely unprepared for retirement and so most didn't make it very long after retiring and losing all the status and power in their lives. This was especially true of middle class and lower class men who tended to be less resilient in their life choices. Though I think this is changing now (for example I was forced to retire at age 50 for health reasons) and I found that almost dying was one of the best things that ever happened to me. In fact, being forced to slow down from the frantic pace of my life before is one of the reasons I'm alive today. When I watch friends trying to outdo themselves in their 40s, 50s and beyond from who they were at 20 or 25, usually serious illness or a fatality winds up being the result. However, because of genetics and new medical techniques and diets and counseling and various therapies added to the incredible amount of intellectual and physical wealth that has been generated on earth at this point, people with enough intelligence, genetics and good diet and medical care might be living into their 100s by the millions this century worldwide the way things are presently going.

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