Max Planck Research Group

Gender Gaps in Health and Survival

Research Area

Health Patterns at Older Ages

Keywords: Ageing, Mortality and Longevity; Health Care, Public Health, Medicine, and Epidemiology; Data and Surveys

Most studies have found that despite increasing trends in the prevalence of chronic diseases and conditions, people under age 85 are more independent and less disabled than previous cohorts at the same ages. It has been also suggested that this independent and relatively healthy period after retirement has been lasting longer in more recent cohorts. The evidence is less consistent for individuals aged 85 and above, mainly because comparable data for exceptionally old people are sparse. Another methodological problem is that most of the existing studies are based on data from surveys that require respondents to have a good memory or to use a proxy respondent. Thus, non-respondents and institutionalized elderly people are often excluded from the survey data. The project aims to describe health patterns at the end of life by gender, socioeconomic status, civil status, and place of death using register data. Special attention will be given to the estimation of transition rates from an “healthy state” to either death or a “unhealthy state” using various definitions of health. Using Danish and Swedish register data, this project intends to study the period prior to death, and thus contributes to our understanding of aging processes and the associated care needs.

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