Health of older men 'slipping through net'
Published on 19 June 2015 12:01 AM
Health and well-being of older men in the UK slipping through the net.
The health and wellbeing of older men in the UK is at risk of slipping through the net according to the charity Age UK.
Although overall life expectancy is increasing for men in the UK, the number of years men can expect to live in good health is not keeping pace. As a result men are now spending a greater proportion of their lives living with disabilities and long term conditions, many of which are preventable.
Of greatest concern is the growing gulf between different parts of the country. Men living in the healthiest areas now live an extra 17.8 years in good health compared to local authority areas with the lowest average scores.[i] That gap has grown by 2.8 years between 2006-08[ii] and 2011 - 13 (compared to 0.9 years for women).[iii]
Age UK is concerned that older men are not accessing the health and support services that could save and improve the quality of their lives. On average, men go to their GP half as often as women.
• Figures show that the numbers of cases of cancer in men is significantly higher than in women once they reach 60.[iv]
• The number of men over 75 living with diabetes has increased to 1 in 5, the highest rate of any group[v];
• Men are 25 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke than women[vi]
• Up to 66% of men over the age of 75 have hypertension[vii]
Age UK's Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams said:
'It is worrying that older men are now spending a greater proportion of their lives living with disabilities and long term conditions, many of which are preventable. If older men have health concerns it's vital they seek help, but we know they are more likely to ignore symptoms or put off seeing their GP. Too often key support services aren't set up in ways that appeal to men.
'In Men's Health Week we want to encourage all older men worried about any aspect of their health to seek help and advice and to realise that it's never too late to take steps to improve your health.'
To help older people live healthily and happily for longer, Age UK has information and advice on healthy living.
People can also request a copies of our healthy living guides by calling Age UK's free national Advice Line on 0800 169 6565. Lines are open 365 days a year from 8am to 8pm.
Notes to editors
For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.
[i] ONS Healthy Life Expectancy at birth 2011-2013 for UTLAs/ men, March 2015 http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-392869
[ii] ONS Disability Free Life Expectancy at birth by local authority, May 2014 http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-304388 These are the nearest available figures for comparison at this geographical level
[iii] See footnotes 1 and 2, tables for females at birth (HLE for 2011-13 and DFLE for 2006-08)
[iv] ONS Cancer Registration Statistics 2012, Table 2, June 2014 http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/cancer-statistics-registrations--england--series-mb1-/no--43--2012/stb-cancer-registrations-2012.html
[v] Aduly Trend Tables 2013, HSCIC Dec 2014 http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB16077
[vi] Townsend N, Wickramasinghe K, Bhatnagar P, Smolina K, Nichols M, Leal J, Luengo-Fernandez R, Rayner M (2012). Coronary heart disease statistics 2012 edition. British Heart Foundation: London. P57
[vii] The Health and Social Care Information Centre (2012) HSE 2011: VOL1 | CHAPTER 3: HYPERTENSION