The health and wellbeing of older men in the UK is at risk of slipping through the net according to the charity Age UK.
A lthough overall life expectancy is increasing for men in the UK, the number of years men can expect to live in good health is not keeping pace. As a result men are now spending a greater proportion of their lives living with disabilities and long term conditions, many of which are preventable.
Of greatest concern is the growing gulf between different parts of the country. Men living in the healthiest areas now live an extra 17.8 years in good health compared to local authority areas with the lowest average scores. This gap has grown by 2.8 years between 2006-8 and 2011 – 13 (compared to 0.9 years for women).
Older men are not accessing health services
Age UK is concerned that older men are not accessing the health and support services that could save and improve the quality of their lives. On average, men go to their GP half as often as women.
• Figures show that the number of cases of cancer in men is significantly higher than in women once they reach 60.
• The number of men over 75 living with diabetes has increased to 1 in 5, the highest rate of any group.
• Men are 25 percent more likely to suffer a stroke than women.
• Up to 66% of men over the age of 75 have hypertension.
Age UK’s Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams said:
‘It is worrying that older men are now spending a greater proportion of their lives living with disabilities and long term conditions, many of which are preventable.
‘If older men have health concerns it’s vital they seek help, but we know they are more likely to ignore symptoms or put off seeing their GP. Too often key support services aren’t set up in ways that appeal to men.
‘In Men’s Health Week we want to encourage all older men worried about any aspect of their health to seek help and advice and to realise that it’s never too late to take steps to improve your health.’