Health & Beauty

Aging Today - How Long Do You Expect to Live?

aging, life expectancy, age 55, longer lives, senior years, milestone birthdays, centenarians, middle-aged, old, senior citizen, senior living arrangements, assisted living, in-home help, nursing care, services for seniorsAccording to Stats Canada, in 1921, life expectancy for a person who made it to age 55, was another 20 years (to age 75). With more Canadians living longer lives, often well into their senior years and reaching milestone birthdays like 90 or even 100 years of age, it begs the question:

How long do you expect to live?

And a host of follow up questions that may be too scary for most folks to think about, when faced with the potential for living longer than we had anticipated. Today, a 55-year-old can expect to live an additional 29 years (to age 84), a gain of nine years over the past 90 years. According to the 2011 census, centenarians were the second fastest growing age group in Canada!

Back in 1901, a newborn could only be expected to live to the (average) age of 60, making them middle-aged at age 30, and considered old at 50. Just 20 years later (1921), that life expectancy rose to 74 years of age, with 65 being considered a senior citizen. By 2001, the life expectancy for newborns had jumped to 80 years of age. Now (as of 2014) with the average life expectancy (in Canada) for men at age 80 and women at age 84, 50 is no longer considered old; middle-aged maybe, but not old.

These life expectancy increases in the past 100+ years reflect gains made in the 20th century driven by the development of childhood immunization against infectious diseases, scientific discoveries such as penicillin and insulin, and in the latter part of the decade, new approaches in health care, illness prevention, social programs, etc. Who knows what advances will be made in the coming years, with the money spent funding research into cancer, heart disease, and other major causes of death (premature or otherwise)?

Now, how long do you expect to live?

Here's some of those uncomfortable follow-up questions for those of us that now expect to be long-lived senior citizens:

  • What will your senior living arrangements be and where will you live?
  • How will your health be in your senior years?
  • Will you need in-home help or nursing care?
  • What services for seniors might you require?

Anita Hamilton

Baby boomer Anita Hamilton has always been interested in the "real people" stories behind the characters that create and inhabit the world of music, books, movies, television shows, current events, history, etc. A lifelong love of research (ok, nosiness) and writing, combined with a loving and supportive family (complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions), keeps her busy.

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