Lifetime according to health status among the oldest olds in Denmark*

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Abstract

Background

policy makers face increasing demands for care of the aged and therefore need more information about the health status of very old people. The purpose of this study was to quantify the average lifetime according to health status among the oldest olds in Denmark.

Methods

the 2,258 participants (63% of all survivors) in the 1905 Danish cohort survey were interviewed in 1998 and re-assessed in 2000, 2003 and 2005. Lifetime according to self-rated health status, physical independence and being cognitively intact was estimated. Physical independence was defined as the ability to get up from a chair or bed, walk around the house and go to the toilet, and being cognitively intact was defined as having a Mini-Mental State Examination score >22.

Results

the average lifetime between ages 92 and 100 was 2.7 years for men and 3.3 years for women, of which almost half was in self-rated good health. The lifetime in physical independence was 2.0 years for men and 2.4 years for women, and both men and women spent an average of 1.1 years in a state of physical independence without cognitive impairment.

Conclusion

even at ages 92–93, a substantial proportion of the remaining lifetime is spent in reasonably good health.

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