People worldwide are living longer than ever before and this is also true on the island of Ireland. Over the last 100 years, average life expectancy at birth in Ireland and Northern Ireland, has risen by several decades.
Life expectancy at birth in ROI is 80.4 years for men and 84.0 for women (Eurostat, 2017a) while in Northern Ireland (NI) it is 78.7 years for men and 82.4 years for women (DOH NI, 2019a). Population ageing can be seen as one of the greatest successes of public health.
However, a key challenge is not only the extension of life expectancy but to ensure those extra years are healthy and disability-free for as long as possible. All countries face major challenges to ensure that their health and social systems are ready to make the most of this demographic shift.