Last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued its annual report on life expectancy in the United States for the year 2012. It's good news for almost everyone including elders.
LIFE EXPECTANCY AT AGE 65
Every day, 7,000 (or 8,000 or 10,000, depending on who is counting) people reach their 65th birthday. If you can get that far, you can be expected, on average, to live another 19.3 years - up slightly from 2011.
As usual, women fare a little better than men. A woman age 65 in 2012, could expect an average of another 21 years, to age 86. For a man 65 in 2012, it was an average of 18 more years to about 83.
The life expectancy at birth of your grandchild born in 2012 was 78.8. It is not that your grandchild's life expectancy is lower than yours at 65. It is that the CDC calculations for life expectancy at birth include infant and teen mortality.)
The Social Security website has a life expectancy calculator that returns the number of years you can expect counting from whatever age you are today. Remember, this is based on your date of birth and gender only and does not take into account current health conditions and other indicators.
The calculator tells me I have another 14.6 years left – until age 88.2.
A slightly more comprehensive life expectancy calculator is here. This one tells me I'll likely live to be 91.5 years, and have a five percent chance of living to be 105.5.
Remember, please, that both of these calculators are amusing toys that cannot be taken with any kind of seriousness.
CAUSES OF DEATH
The CDC reports that about 2.5 million people died in 2012, an increase of 28,000 or so over 2011 that is accounted for by the growing number of elders in the U.S.
The top ten leading causes of death remained the same. In order, they are:
Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases
Influenza and Pneumonia
There is a chart in the CDC report showing deaths per 100,000 population for each cause. Here's a fun fact: the top two causes of death, heart disease and cancer, account for 46.5 percent of all U.S. deaths, a decrease over time.
In addition, the age-adjusted death rate decreased 1.1 percent from 2011 or 2012 to record low of 732.8 deaths per 100,000 population. Americans appear to be getting healthier, if that's what declining death rates indicate, but still lag behind other developed countries.
Medical News Today has published as in-depth report on these top ten causes of death with more detailed (and easy to read) statistical information than I have provided along with expanded definitions, descriptions and related health data.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Henry Lowenstern: Big Spender