The short answer is yes – but what does ‘better’ mean?
Live longer and less dependent?
Every user of the SHAPE Analyser gets an estimate of the three stages of the rest of their life, based on Australian data.1
*Dependent years have severe or profound core activity limitations. Core activities compromise self-care, mobility and communications.
The longer we live, the longer we’re likely to live, so the overall amount of Able time tends to increase with age and the Dependent stage is likely to be shorter. So ‘better’ means both length and quality of life are potential gains.
Just in Australia?
Finnish studies comparing physical and mental
capabilities of men and women today and 30
years ago showed length and quality of life had
improved. More years have been added to
midlife and less to dependency – as with the
Body and brain?
The comparisons showed improvements in
muscle strength, walking speed, reaction
speed, verbal fluency, reasoning and working
memory. There was no significant change in
lung function tests. Longer education was the
main reason for cognitive improvement.
The steady increases in length and quality of
life in part reflects communities providing an
improving framework for living, including the
availability of medical care and other benefits
In addition, if we choose we can prepare better
to make our own decisions if we apply what we
now know about ageing to making the best of
our own situation.
A clearer understanding of our own potential
time frame, its stages and the underlying
reasons is the first step.
This is the purpose of the SHAPE Analyser.
Enlisting the support of health advisers to
identify appropriate actions can sharpen our
focus. Then we are better prepared to address
other important decisions in our lives.
Better prepared for what?
Financial decisions will be more soundly based
if they reflect our own time expectations.
Decisions about work and retirement are
Decisions about where to live, for how long
and why are clarified. Estate planning and
intergenerational issues can be more easily
dealt with. Aged care and end of life decisions
can be addressed while in reasonable shape
rather than in crisis mode.
By planning for our longevity, we can get on
with pursuing our interests, confident that we
are well prepared to make the best of the rest
of our life.
1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017.
Life Expectancy and Disability in Australia 2003-2017