More women than men reaching the age of 100, stats show

More women than men reaching the age of 100, stats show

More women than men continue to reach the age of 100 latest statistics show.

Figures released by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for the past three years show that 577 women compared to 138 men became centenarians.

Last year, 192 women turned 100 while a much smaller number of men at 55 reached the momentous mark.

In 2017 even less men hit the age of 100, with 39 men receiving the all important cheque from President Michael D Higgins with 189 women being awarded while 44 men and 196 women in 2016 lived to celebrate their special birthdays.

A Department spokesperson said: “These figures are a point in time snapshot of data that is available to us. These means the numbers of people that are known to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.”

Under the Centenarian Bounty Scheme, each person reaching the age of 100 receives a congratulatory letter from President Michael D Higgins as well as a cheque for €2,540.

The award is given to all persons, Irish and foreign nationals alike, resident here on their 100th birthday, as well as Irish nationals living abroad. The bounty was introduced by Douglas Hyde.

A total of €627,380 was paid out for 2018 while overall for the past three years, more than €1.8 million was given to centenarians.

One of the highest figures of 423 people turning 100 was reached in 2013.

Diarmuid O’Shea, President of the Irish Gerontological Society said: “Ageing affects each and everyone of us. This is not an abstract discussion it’s a very real one and we are all living it. By the year 2050, 56% of the world’s population will be over the age of 65 and 90% of those will be more than 80.

“In 1900 the average life expectancy was 50 by the end of this century it will be over the 100 mark. We all have a personal responsibility to grow up and older trying to be healthier and well by improving behaviours and resilience which will help prevent frailty and a multitude of illnesses later in life.

“As people age they need to be active rather than passive about dealing with older life and its consequences and so to do public health programmes which are already helping to empower independence and living at home for as long as possible.

It’s all about involving communities and society in our lives as we grow older and live longer and having the mechanisms in place to deal with this. We are still a young country so we have time to implement plans and a national policy based on the peoples’ will based on equal rights and opportunities for everyone.

We should look to countries such as Japan and Scandinavia which have very progressive programmes and community involvement in empowering individuals as they grow older. They are an investment not a cost.

Loneliness is as bad as smoking and drinking on the health of an older person and people need more supports put in place to deal with this. It’s aimed (by Government) to try to keep the numbers of those over 65 in nursing homes at four percent, but to maintain that over the next 10 years, it will mean providing 50,000 such beds.

"The current number of nursing home beds is 33,000 while the numbers managing to live at home will also be rising. Clinical programmes and overall public health plans etc will have to be addressed.

“It sends out a very positive image of Ireland, having a 77-year-old man such as Michael D Higgins re-elected as President, in that we value the knowledge, intellect and experience of age - now we as a society need to act on this. Access to quality, social and healthcare is surely one of those rights.”

Scientists and researchers attribute women living longer than men to hormonal and physiological advantages, child birth conditions improved from the 1930s onwards, they are better at looking after themselves than men, are less likely to smoke and drink heavily and to be involved in fatal driving accidents.

The President also marks the birthday of each person resident in Ireland over the age of 100 years. On their 101st and every birthday after that, the person receives a special commemorative coin in a presentation box, along with a congratulatory letter signed by the President. A new coin is designed for each year.

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