Despite having a long life expectancy, Cypriots live the last 20 years of their lives suffering a series of health problems, according to the findings of a PwC Luxembourg survey.
The Cyprus Patients Organisations Federation (OSAK) presented the survey at a scientific conference.
PwC Luxembourg partner Guy Brandenburger said: “Cypriots live a health-problem-free life up until 63, with the average person living 81.3 years.
“This means that two out of these 20 years, they are still active in the labour market”.
In Cyprus, life expectancy is 83.4 years for women and 79.2 for men.
Based on the studies, Cypriots have a healthy life, on average, until age 63 (62.5 for women, 63.1 for men).
“This, if we compare the average life expectancy with the average healthy life, leads us to conclude that Cypriots live the last 19.6 years of their lives with health problems.
“In other words, since the retirement limit in Cyprus is 65, it means that a Cypriot in the last two years at work lives with health problems with all this entails.”
Findings indicate that Cypriots face health problems earlier in their golden years compared to other European countries.
In Luxembourg, according to the survey, elderly citizens live the last 19 years of their lives with health issues, while in France, the period is shortened to 17.7 years, with a life expectancy of 85.5 for women and 79.3 for men.
In Sweden, people live some 72.2 healthy years, with just 10 years of health problems.
Brandenburger argued that the Cypriot state will save up to €10 mln annually for every health-problem-free year added.
“If Cyprus reaches the Swedish standards, the state could save up to 100 mln a year.”
The cost of the ‘troubled’ years can be easily understood if one considers the cost of the drugs taken by older people, argued Brandenburger.
According to European databases, each person over 65 takes an average of 13 pills daily.
In Cyprus, each elderly person costs (medicine) the state around $2,966 per year and with the general ageing of the population, this amount will rise in the coming years.
“How we age is very much our own choice.
“If we follow the right way of life, if we start early to think about how we want to spend the last years of our life, then we will have good results.
“It is our choice if we take into account that only 20% of the factors that lead to health problems in old age cannot be prevented”, emphasised Brandenburger.
According to the data presented by the scientist, 30%-45% of Cypriots start having health problems after age 45.
“Prevention should be our motto throughout our lives.
“Somewhere around 55, we have to decide how we will age.
“Prevention is definitely key; for non-preventable factors, early intervention is required.”