Oct 24 2008 Posted: 00:00 IST
Researchers at the Irish Centre for Gerontology, NUI Galway have co-published the results from the first Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The objective of the study is to identify the key issues for people aged 50 and over in Ireland which will help inform policy makers, particularly regarding the financial, health and social inclusion aspects for an ageing economy. According to Dr Brenda Gannon, Deputy Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway: "By 2021 the proportion of the total population aged 65 and over in Ireland will have grown significantly from the current level of 11 per cent to an estimated 15 per cent. The force of this demographic change will impact on all facets of society, particularly public pensions and the health service. This survey has provided up-to-date knowledge on the health care needs and financial position of older people in Ireland. For the first time, we now have data for Ireland on people aged 50 years and over to compare with other European countries". Key findings regarding healthcare use were that 80 per cent of people aged 50-59 had seen their GP at least once in the last 12 months, compared to 93 per cent of those aged 70 and over. One in five people aged 70-79 had one inpatient stay in hospital in the previous 12 months, with many more aged 80 and over have overnight hospital inpatient visits. Other key findings include:
- Physical Health: one third of individuals aged 50-59 have a long term illness, this increases to over 40 per cent for older age groups.
- Mental Health: one in three females aged 50-59 have felt sad or depressed in the last month, this proportion is higher among the older age groups.
- Financial worries: 11 per cent of women have great difficulty in making ends meet compared to 7 per cent of males.
- Care needs: over one third of people aged 70-79 felt that the care they received for daily activities did not meet their needs adequately.
- Children: 85 per cent of people aged 50 and over had children and of those, at least one in five children lived in the same household, one in ten lived nearby and 15 per cent lived abroad.