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We’re living longer, but in poor health

We're living longer — but our old age is not spent in good health, a new report finds.

An analysis of people living on both sides of the Irish border showed that since the 1920s, the number of years a man can expect to live has risen by about 20.

And for women, the average life span had extended by a staggering 24-25 years, according to the report from the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI).

However, the downside is that while we are enjoying longer life spans, the extra twilight years are likely to be spent in poor health.

An Irishman can now expect to live to 76.8 years and a woman can look forward to making it to 81.6 years.

The years a man in the Republic can expect to live in poor health has risen from 9.5 in 1999, to 14.7 in 2007.

And for women the projected years of bad health have increased from 11.3 years, to 16.8 years, it was revealed.

The report, Illustrating Ageing in Ireland North and South also shows that older workers in Northern Ireland have been more successful in withstanding some of the effects of the recession than their counterparts down South.

The number of people over the age of 60, still in paid work north of the border continued to rise through the first year of the downturn, but the number in the Republic fell by 7,000.

The number of people aged 65 years and older is projected to rise from 700,000 now, to nearly 1.9m in 2041 in the whole of the island.

In the Republic there will be 1.4m of that vintage by that time, three times more than the 462,000 they account for now.

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