‘Only as Old as you feel’

As our regular readers will be aware, we often look to Europe as we compare the lives of the members of the Irish seniors to those who live on the mainland of Europe. Sometimes these comparisons can be of interest and at times dispel the notions we are way behind our EU partners. To be truthful, we are better in some areas and behind the curve in others. So, this week we are going to give you some food thought

Our information comes from the most recent research on ‘Looking at the life of the elderly in the EU

The first point of Interest came when we looked at the number of Seniors living in each country. The EU Average is 19.2 %, whereas in Ireland we are at 13.2 %. Italy has the highest at 22% just ahead of Greece so maybe my dietitian is right! More Salads!  

Free Travel

Now, another question which is always asked is, ‘who lives longer after retiring, Male or the Female?’. Well, no surprise here gentlemen it is the Boss, the lady of the House. She will live for on average 21 years and her trusted lieutenant 18 years, so as the gravestone she erected for us will say “May you rest in peace till I join you again”

How many of those extra years can a man or the women expect to live in a good, strong health manner after the age of 65? In Europe, both sexes are the same at 9 years while here in Ireland we go a few years better with the male getting 11 years and the commander in chief 12 years.

Living alone, as we have often covered, can have a detrimental effect on your physical and mental wellbeing. In Ireland we do fair a little bit better with 29% living alone while across the EU it comes in at 32%. To our amazement, 46% of people over 65 live alone in Lithuania. That is nearly 1 in every 2 seniors are living alone in isolation.

The free Travel Pass is an entitlement the Twilight Community Group believes should never be abolished or even tinkered with around the edges. And the figures across Europe show us why we in Ireland keep 63% of our over 65s active and travelling yearly, while the EU average is just 48%. So, hands off our free Travel Pass! The All-Ireland Free Travel Scheme allows a Free Travel cardholder (those aged 66 and older) to travel free of charge on all bus and rail services within Northern Ireland using a Senior Smart pass card. So, Carry on to the Buses and Trains when this damn virus goes away for good.

During the above mentioned virus, the internet became a necessity to stay in touch with the outside world for many of our seniors. We do lack a little behind our European neighbors on this one as they come in at 48% of the seniors surveyed while Ireland came in at 40%, which to be honest is a good place to start from as we try to bring more seniors on line. Digital Awareness and security are part of the Twilight Seniors programme PASS which will commence in the New Year under the Public health Guidelines.

Originally, it is based on the chapter “An ageing society — focus on the elderly” of the flagship publication “People in the EU: who are we and how do we live?”, published on 27 November 2015. Data used in this tool were updated in September 2017.

In addition, an interactive infographic – “You in the EU” – is available which allows a comparison of some aspects of the way of life of elderly people in the EU for different age groups, such as those aged 65-69, 70-74 and 75 or older on

Now with all surveys we can read them, take what is relevant to us out of the results. But, always remember they are just that, results with numbers. And my mother, and I am sure your mothers and grannies told you … “when it comes to age it’s just a number on a piece of paper and you are only as old as you feel”

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