“Older women no longer can expect to live more active years than older men, despite their longer lives,” says Vicki Freedman. (Credit: iStockphoto)
“In a reversal of a long-standing pattern, a new study shows that older American women have lost ground relative to older men in the number of years they can expect to live free from disabilities past age 65.
“‘Just a few decades ago, older women used to live more years than men without needing help taking care of themselves or managing basic household activities,’ says Vicki Freedman of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, who was involved with the study. ‘But that does not appear to be the case anymore.’
“Freedman and her collaborators used data from 1982, 2004, and 2011 drawn from two large studies of disability trends in the United States among representative samples of Medicare enrollees.
“Smaller gains in life expectancy
“Over the full 30-year period, they found that men’s active life expectancy at age 65 increased by more than four years.
“During the same period, women’s active life expectancy at age 65 increased by only 1.4 years.”