Filipinos are living longer but not necessarily healthier lives.
This is one of the findings of a recent study by Dr. Grace Cruz and Christian Joy Cruz of the University of the Philippines Population Institute and Dr. Yasuhiko Saito published in Geriatrics and Gerontology International.
The study examined healthy and active ageing among Filipinos. It measured healthy life expectancy and active life expectancy by using data from the 2007 Philippine Survey on Aging and the 2018 Longitudinal Study of Ageing and Health.
The study noted that in 2018, a 60-year-old man can live an additional 17 years while a 60-year-old woman can live for 22 more years. But while life expectancies have risen for both sexes, their years spent in active health have been declining. The study also noted that although women are living longer than men, they also tend to live unhealthy and inactive lives.
Commission on Population and Development executive director Juan Antonio Perez III said the rising life expectancies among Filipinos can be credited to better access to medical care, healthier lifestyle, and more educated seniors “who make better choices in life.” Still, many senior Filipinos remain vulnerable in their old age.
“People are living longer but in poorer health and socio-economic conditions. They are only partially reaping the benefits of better health and social conditions,” he said in an earlier interview.
“We have to develop programs that will make them part of our productive population. We don’t want our senior citizens to become old, poor and unhealthy, and also disabled,” Perez added.
The country’s senior citizens, according to Perez, now account for 8.5 percent of the total population. They are estimated to reach 14 percent by 2035. This increase will require more interventions in health and social security, pension schemes, and elderly infrastructure such as old-age homes and geriatric clinics, among others. There are now bills several pending bills in Congress that seek to respond to the needs and welfare of elderly Filipinos. #####