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We're Living Longer Than Our Parents

Multiple generations of women.
People in developed nations are living in good health as much as a decade longer than their parents did.

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Better longevity has resulted in the rapid growth of services aimed at helping older adults, and the Home Instead® network leads the field in at-home care for senior loved ones.

Q. It seems that a number of my parents’ 85-year-old friends are alive and well. My parents are in excellent health too. I didn’t notice that about my grandparent’s generation. Can my generation expect this trend to continue and what resources are out there to keep seniors healthy and active?

People in developed nations are living in good health as much as a decade longer than their parents did. “We're living longer because people are reaching old age in better health,” said demographer James Vaupel, author of a review article appearing in Nature.

“But once it starts, the process of aging itself, including dementia and heart disease, is still happening at pretty much the same rate. Deterioration, instead of being stretched out, is being postponed.”

The better health in older age stems from public health efforts to improve living conditions and prevent disease, and from improved medical interventions, said Vaupel, who heads Duke University's Center on the Demography of Aging and holds academic appointments at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, and the institute of Public Health at the University of Southern Demark.

During the past 170 years, in the countries with the highest life expectancies, the average life span has grown at a rate of 2.5 years per decade, or about six hours per day.

This trend, while very encouraging, could have many ramifications on the health care, social services and economic structures of our country. It could also explain the rapid growth in services aimed at helping older adults.

At-home senior care is one of those. Founded in 1994, the Home Instead® network is now the world’s largest provider of non-medical in-home care services for seniors. Your local office is part of this network. Please call today to learn how a CAREGiverSM could keep your parents independent longer.

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Last revised: December 15, 2011

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