Study shows women continue to outlive men as numbers of centenarians on the rise

January 8, 2014

The number of centenarians in Ontario increased by more than 70 per cent over the last 15 years with women making up more than 85 per cent of people 100 or older, according to new research by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Women's College Hospital.

The findings, published today in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, are among the first to examine centenarians in a large geographic population and the they receive.

"Our study highlights that older people are living longer, and women make up a significant proportion of centenarians. The predominance of women among those of advanced age challenges us to consider tailoring and social care to meet their particular needs," said Dr. Paula Rochon, lead author of the study and scientist at Women's College Research Institute and ICES.

The population-based study of centenarians used an estimated 1.8 million individuals 65 years of age and older. This study that documents changes to the size of the centenarian population over the past 15 years found:

  • In Ontario, the number of centenarians increased from 1069 in 1995 to 1842 in 2010, a 72.3 per cent increase during this period.
  • During the same time period, the 85-99 year age group increased from 119,955 to 227,703, an 89.8 per cent increase.
  • Of the 1842 centenarians, 6.7 per cent were 105 years or older.
  • Women represented 85.3 per cent of all centenarians and 89.4 per cent of those 105 years or older.
  • Almost half lived in the community (20.0 per cent independently, 25.3 per cent with publicly funded home care).
  • Preventive drug therapies (bisphosphonates and statins) were frequently dispensed.
  • In the preceding year, 18.2 per cent were hospitalized and 26.6 per cent were seen in an emergency department.
  • More than 95 per cent saw a primary care provider and 5.3 per cent saw a geriatrician.

"We need a better understanding of who centenarians are, and how and when they use the health care system in order to improve their health service delivery," adds Rochon.

Understanding the sociodemographic profile and health service use of centenarians is important to inform strategies to improve the delivery of for many individuals who will approach or achieve this milestone in the future, the authors note. Better understanding of the health services use of assists health care providers to inform their care decisions and for policy makers to aid in their planning for the delivery of healthcare services, they add.

Explore further: Women far more likely to live to 100 than men: U.S. census

More information: The study "Demographics and health care use of centenarians: a population-based cohort study," was published today in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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