EUROPEAN PAPERS ON THE NEW WELFARE

Mental Health: Another Dimension of Health and Ageing

1. Introduction

Life expectancy in the United States continues to rise, reaching another all-time high of 77.6 years. While long life is almost always celebrated, it is merely the quantitative aspect of one’s existence. How the quality of life of a long-lived individual is affected by a prolonged period of living is a question not posed often enough. One of the major concerns of a long life is the possibility of ill health since the chances of frailty and dependency tend to rise with age. This paper discusses issues concerning quantity of life and quality of life in the context of health and ageing. Although the frame of reference is that of the United States, some of the observations and implications may have relevance for other countries as well1.
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