“As the old saying goes, the only things certain in life are death and taxes. While death is inevitable, the quality of life you experience until death is often within an individual’s control.
“This is what our team at the Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research chose to focus on by developing a rigorous measure of quality of life. How many healthy years of life do you have ahead before you become unhealthy?
“Everyone understands the benefits of living a long healthy life, but this also has implications for industry and society. Medical costs, financial planning and health support services are directly related to the state of health of an individual or community.
“We call this measure of quality of life ‘healthy life expectancy’ and its complement ‘unhealthy life expectancy.’ We define entering an unhealthy state as a severe enough state of disablement that there is no recovery, so you remain unhealthy until death.
“It follows that life expectancy – a measure of the total future years an individual is expected to live – is simply the two added together.”
Want to know your own estimate of healthy years ahead? We developed a free online tool that lets you calculate healthy, unhealthy and total life expectancy. This is work in progress.