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Women, health and ageing: findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

Women live longer than men and so as the population ages older women will comprise an increasingly larger proportion of the Australian population. Older women who are married may become carers of increasing frail or ill husbands and this may limit their capacity to look after their own health. When the women are widowed they suffer financial disadvantage and may face difficulty maintaining their homes and with transport. Nevertheless, provided they are in good health, they lead more active social lives than older men. Due to their longer life expectancy, older women make up a majority of the people with dementia, sensory impairment, falls and fractured femurs. They are more likely to need aged care services. Also caring for older women impacts on the lives of middle-aged women, who often become their informal carers, Helping older women to remain healthy and live independently for as long as possible is a most important long term goal.

Report (31/03/11) from Women’s Health Australia