The number of elderly is rising worldwide, and it is estimated that average life expectancy in Europe will reach 100 by the end of the century.
At the same time, old age and what we expect from it are changing. An extensive research project at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy has spent a number of years comparing the elderly of the 1970s with those of today. The project, known as the H70 study, reveals that old age has changed drastically in a number of ways.
For example, the proportion of elderly with schooling beyond secondary level has risen from 14% to almost 40% for both genders. This is reflected in a better performance in intelligence tests by today's 70-year-olds than their counterparts back in the 1970s.
The proportion of married people has increased, as has the proportion of divorcees. The elderly are also now more sexually active, and the number with sexual problems such as impotence has fallen.
The results of the long-term study can also be contradictory, not least when it comes to social networking:
“The H70 study shows that the elderly are more outgoing today than they were in the 1970s – they talk more to their neighbours, for example – yet the percentage of elderly who feel lonely has increased significantly,” says professor Ingmar Skoog from the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy, who leads the study.
Old people’s mental health does not seem to have changed, however. Dementia disorders are no more prevalent today than they were 30 years ago, and while more old people consider themselves to be mildly depressed, more severe forms of depression have not become more common. Meanwhile the elderly are coping better with everyday life: the number needing help with cleaning has fallen from 25% to 12%, and only 4% need help taking a bath, down from 14% in the 1970s.
“Our conclusion is that pensioners are generally healthier and perkier today than they were 30 years ago,” says Skoog. “This may be of interest both in the debate about where to set the retirement age and in terms of the baby boomers now hitting retirement age.”THE H70 STUDY
Helena Aaberg | idw
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy