Comment: In the discussion about people living longer lives there is often a concern that this means more years with illness and reduced cognitive ability, so here is some interesting news.
The functional ability of older people is nowadays better when it is compared to that of people at the same age three decades ago. This was observed in a study conducted at the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. The study compared the physical and cognitive performance of people nowadays between the ages of 75 and 80 with that of the same-aged people in the 1990s.
“The results suggest that our understanding of older age is old-fashioned. From an aging researcher’s point of view, more years are added to midlife, and not so much to the utmost end of life. Increased life expectancy provides us with more non-disabled years, but at the same time, the last years of life comes at higher and higher ages, increasing the need for care. Among the ageing population, two simultaneous changes are happening: continuation of healthy years to higher ages and an increased number of very old people who need external care.”