17 February 2016
Figures from a Public Health England report show that men aged 65 can expect to live for another 19 years, with women a further 21 years.
The figures vary according to regions, with life expectancies for 65 year olds in the North East and North West lower than other areas in the country.
Life expectancy among older men and women in England rose to its highest level in 2014, following a fall in life expectancy in some older age groups between 2011 and 2012.
However, this increase was not represented in the North East, where male life expectancy was higher in 2013.
Making changes today
As most deaths in England occur in those aged over 80, more focus is being placed on patterns of mortality in older people. In the past statistics looked mainly at life expectancy at birth.
Professor John Newton, chief knowledge officer at Public Health England, said the report presented a positive national picture which emphasised the importance of improving health even during your later years.
“Most of us could make changes today, like stopping smoking, being more active or eating better, that would allow us to look forward to healthier later years.”
There is currently no explanation for the variation in trends between local areas.
Despite the report’s positive conclusions, there is concern that too many elderly people are living in poor health.
Danny Dorling, professor of human geography at the University of Oxford, believes it is important to look into why “there is evidence of worsening health for many older people in some parts of the country”.
The figures for life expectancy in Scotland also improved, with 65 year old men and women expected to live for a further 17.4 and 19.7 years respectively, but with large variations across the country.
Read the full Public Health England report.