Women Live Longer But Men Live Better, Study Claims

Researchers from the University of Michigan and Syracuse University conducted a study claims that even though women live longer than men, men do not suffer from as many disabilities that women do as they reach their golden years. Over the last three decades, life expectancy for men has increased to the point that men live five years longer now than they did in the 80s. Over that same time period, women have only gained two more years. Vicki Freedman, a researcher at the University of Michigan, released a press release about the study.

"Older men have been living longer and experiencing disability at later ages than they used to, while older women have experienced smaller increases in life expectancy and even smaller postponements in disability. As a result, older women no longer can expect to live more active years than older men, despite their longer lives."
Disabled Couple
[Image Via auremar/Shutterstock]In the study published in the American Journal of Public Health, data was analyzed from studies completed in 1982, 2004, and 2011 from people who were both 65-years-old and older and on Medicare. The focus of the study was whether people with disabilities had a harder time with normal day to day activities. Comparing the data from 1982 and 2011, researchers discovered women who were 65-years-old increased their lifespan to live until they were 85. This was an increase of just two years. For men, they could now expect to live until they were 84.

The study found that women who were 65-years-old and over would spend up to 30 percent of their remaining life with some sort of disability. For men, they would spend 19 percent of their remaining years with a disability. In order to qualify disabilities, researchers specifically looked for a problem where the people in their study could not carry out, at least, one normal task during the day. These tasks including being able to eat without help, bathe, go to the bathroom, go shopping, and others.

The results shocked researchers as they compared the data from 1982 to 2011. Freedman commented further on what her team discovered in the data.

"Men and women certainly experience different health conditions later in life and maybe we are getting better at treating health conditions that men have."
The study also found that the amount of time living with a severe disability decreased for men and women. A severe disability was classified as a person who could not do, at least, three normal tasks without assistance. Jen'nan Read, an associate professor of sociology and global health at Duke University, was not involved in the study but commented on the results.
"As the population is aging, and women are more likely to live longer, it has huge implications for [women's] quality of life. They live longer and have poor quality of life years and also tend to be less likely to have the social and economic resources to deal with these problems."
Various Disabled Shadows
[Image Via Nikola m/Shutterstock]Due to improved methods of health care, more people are living past the age of 65-years-old. By the year 2030, thanks to the baby boomers, 20 percent of the population will be 65-years-old and older. Currently, 15 percent of the population is, at least, 65-years-old. Jen'nan Read is concerned that we will not have the facilities needed to care for an aging population.
"We need systems in place, such as assisted living facilities, nursing homes and home help programs, but we are nowhere near the level we would need as this population of baby boomers explodes in the next 10, 20, 30 years."
Are you surprised that women that live longer than men will have to live their remaining years with more disabilities than men?

[Image Via HannaMonika/Shutterstock]