Healthy life expectancy

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Healthy life expectancy (HALE) is a vital consideration in health a social services planning. There have been major gains in both healthy life expectancy and life expectancy world wide in the last 20 years, however recent trends in many nations rise causes for concern. In particular the recent increase in the population dependency ratio seen in most Western democracies has been driven by an increase in the average time spent in ill health. Currently in the first world 26% of the life span is expected to be spent with disability compared to 11% in the rest of the world where there has been greatest life span gain in the last 15 years.[1]Demographic transition means however that the resources to deliver the care needed, which traditionally was delivered by young adults may not be available.[2][3]

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In the UK a hopeful lifestyle dividend was that the elderly population would be healthier and compress the dependency and morbidity years as the population aged. However at least until 2010 life expectancy was increasing faster than healthy life expectancy meaning demographic change drove increased demand for health and social services.