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2 (20) 2013

Demography and social economy, 2013, 2(20):102-114
doi: https://doi.org/10.15407/dse2013.02.102

. Kurylo
PhD, M.V. Ptoukha Institute for Demography and Social Studies, NAS of Ukraine

Section: Demographic processes
Language: Ukrainian
Abstract: Good health and longevity in older age are major signs and integral components of high quality of older peoples life. Currently, life expectancy of Ukrainian women and men after crossing the boundary of 65 years of age is still 5.06.5 years less than that in developed European countries. Despite the generally positive dynamics of life expectancy in older age, our countrys achievements in terms of creating conditions for womens and mens longevity look rather insignificant compared to other European countries. In todays Ukraine, the issue of reducing mortality in early retirement age is still no less urgent or pressing. The predominant cause of death of older people in Ukraine are the circulatory diseases, which currently kill more than three fourths of women and slightly less than three fourths of men aged 60 years and older. The analysis of old age mortality structure by causes of death and its comparison with the same indicator for the European countries gives grounds to suggest that the excessively high contribution of cardiovascular pathology to old age mortality is largely the results from the widespread practice of routine recording of older persons death causes, which have a negative effect on the quality of statistical data on the causes of death. At the same time, reduction of frequency of deaths from cardiovascular diseases in younger age groups of elderly remains the main reserve for life prolongation at old age in Ukraine. Other identified reserves for older persons include reduction of early mortality from malignant tumors, as well as reduced rates of suicide cases, injuries, accidental poisonings, alcohol effects, and car accidents.
Over the past decade there has been an increase in the morbidity of elderly for the majority of disease classes. But an increase in morbidity among elderly reported based on the number of visits to healthcare providers should not be viewed as a negative trend, if mortality in the corresponding disease classes is falling the situation as it exists in Ukraine. Among the older female respondents of the socio-demographic survey Elderly People in Ukraine, 2013, 6.6% reported disability, among male respondents 10.8%. During the survey, almost 45% of older women reported a chronic disease, but have no disability (among the male respondents such chronic patients are more than 29%). The study of health self-assessments by older women and men demonstrated that they are quite close, although we should note that older men in Ukraine in general are somewhat more prone to optimistic estimates of their health than women. Among the respondents of the above mentioned older persons survey, more than two thirds of women and nearly half of men said they lead a healthy lifestyle and take care of their health. While evaluating bad habits and other risks to their health, older women more often refer to stress and recognize that they lead a sedentary lifestyle, while men are relatively more likely to have unhealthy habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption.
As survey showed, in Ukraine, the practice of visiting healthcare providers for diseases prevention and early identification is insufficiently widespread among older persons. The most significant proportion of older persons stated that they visit specialist doctors occasionally, only in case of illness. The situation with affordability of skilled healthcare for the older population in Ukraine raises serious concerns. Older persons often find themselves at a serious disadvantage because of their inability to pay for medications and medical supplies and they cannot afford in-patient treatment in a hospital or a critically vital surgery etc.
Key words: health, life expectancy at old age, morbidity, disability, health self-assessment, vital behavior, access to health care.
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