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3.1 Physical exercise

Definition

Percentage of people aged 55 years and older undertaking physical exercise or sport almost every day.

Goal (rationale)

This indicator is part of the domain on independent and autonomous living. While the health benefits of moderate physical activity in old age have been widely recognized by research, performing moderate physical activity can also be seen as an indication of maintaining the necessary balance and mobility to allow people to remain active in their communities and able to function independently.

Survey question

How frequently do you do each of the following?

c. Take part in sports or physical exercise

  1. Every day or almost every day
  2. At least once a week
  3. One to three times a month
  4. Less often

Those replying “Every day or almost every day” to the above question have been considered as being physically active for the purpose of this indicator.

Source

European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS)

Year

2012, 2016

Notes

While strenuous physical exercise can be harmful in some circumstances, given the questions on which the indicator is based, it is likely that this refers not to more demanding or physically intense activities, but to those involving only moderate exercise.

The awareness of what could be defined as physical exercise may differ between countries. Also definition of sports and physical exercise may differ between different social groups. It is also not clear if for instance gardening and walking more than 20 minutes is included or not under physical exercise.

Alternative data: We examined the potential use of the Eurobarometer (2010) and European Social Survey (ESS), but rejected it due to the lack of replicability of those data. Eurobarometer covers only 2010 and in ESS, a respective question was included in 2012, modified in 2014 and excluded in 2016.

3.2 Access to health and dental care

Definition

Percentage of people aged 55 years and older who report no unmet need for medical and dental examination or treatment during the 12 months preceding the survey.

Goal (rationale)

The indicator aims to capture the importance of enablement through access to health and dental care. For older people to lead an active, healthy and independent life and to be able to actively participate in society it is essential that they can easily access health care services. This is especially important to older age groups as they are more likely to have a need of such medical services.

Survey question

The indicator refers to respondents who say that there was no occasion when the person really needed medical or dental examination or treatment but was not able to receive it.

Source

European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC)

Year

2008, 2010, 2012, 2014

Notes

The indicator is aimed at assessing access in general to examinations by medical doctors including GPs as well as specialists. The same phenomenon is assessed for the dental treatment. Focus is placed on the actual treatment and not just the formal coverage.

Caveats

Access is conceptualised as a subjective concept of unmet need, that is, responses are based on the person’s own assessment (i.e. what constitutes a ´real need´ of medical or dental examination), which means that it can be influenced by personal or cultural biases.

Comparability

Source: EU-SILC. See details http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/microdata/european-union-statistics-on-income-and-living-conditions

 

3.3 Independent living arrangements

Definition

Percentage of people aged 75 years and older who live in a single person household or who live as a couple (2 adults with no dependent children).

Goal (rationale)

The indicator aims to capture decisional autonomy regarding one’s own life in old age.

Survey question

A classification developed by Eurostat for household surveys now refer to the number of adult members, their age and gender, and the numbers of dependent children living with them. For more details, please see:

http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/microdata/european-union-statistics-on-income-and-living-conditions

 

Derived variable used here is HX060: Household type

5 - One person household

6 - 2 adults, no dependent children, both adults under 65 years

7 - 2 adults, no dependent children, at least one adult 65 years or more

8 - Other households without dependent children

9 - Single parent household, one or more dependent children

10 - 2 adults, one dependent child

11 - 2 adults, two dependent children

12 - 2 adults, three or more dependent children

13 - Other households with dependent children

16- Other ( these household are excluded from Laeken indicators calculation)

 

Where dependent children is defined as household members aged 17 or less, or household members aged between 18 and 24; economically inactive and living with at least one parent.

Source

European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC)

Year

2008, 2010, 2012, 2014

Notes

This indicator has been selected at the recommendation of the Expert Group on AAI as a measure for independent living.

Caveats

Living with other members of the household is not necessarily loss of independence, and multi-generational households can also be seen as independent living.

Comparability

Same as for indicator 3.2.

3.4 Relative median income

Definition

The relative median income ratio is defined as the ratio of the median equivalised disposable income of people aged 65 and above to the median equivalised disposable income of those aged below 65.

Goal (rationale)

Independent and autonomous living also incorporates the concept of financial security which is captured by three indicators. The relative median income ratio is the first one of these. Comparing the median income of the elderly with the rest of the population the indicator aims to measure the adequacy of retirement incomes for older people to maintain their living standard after retirement and to ensure financial security in old age. The indicator becomes particularly important for estimating relative poverty, because the distribution of economic resources (i.e. pension systems can play an important role in addressing poverty amongst the elderly) may have a direct bearing on the extent and depth of poverty.

Survey question

Household disposable income is established by summing up all monetary incomes received from any source by each member of the household (including income from work, investment and social benefits) – plus income received at the household level – and deducting taxes and social contributions paid. In order to reflect differences in household size and composition, this total is divided by the number of ‘equivalent adults’ using a standard (equivalence) scale, the so-called ‘modified OECD’ scale, which attributes a weight of 1 to the first adult in the household, a weight of 0.5 to each subsequent member of the household aged 14 and over, and a weight of 0.3 to household members aged less than 14. The resulting figure is called equivalised disposable income and is attributed to each member of the household.

Source

European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC)

Year

2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016

Notes

It was agreed with the Expert Group on AAI that the maximum upper value of 100 will be enforced for this indicator (e.g. for Luxembourg, where the relative median income is higher for 65+, the value for this indicator is fixed at 100).

Comparability

Same as for indicator 3.2.

 

3.5 No poverty risk

Definition

Percentage of people aged 65 years and older who are not at risk of poverty (people at risk of poverty are defined as those with an equivalised disposable income after social transfers below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 50% of the national median equivalised disposable income after social transfers).

Goal (rationale)

The indicator is one of the three indicators that aim to measure financial security. Low income is known to have a significant impact on people’s health and well-being for it may limit access to basic goods and services, and the possibility to live independently.

Survey question

See notes for indicator 3.4

Source

European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC)

Year

2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016

Notes

For the purpose of poverty indicators, the equivalised disposable income is calculated from the total disposable income of each household divided by the equivalised household size; consequently, each person in the household is considered to have the same equivalised income.

Poverty risk using the 50% poverty threshold is assumed to capture the extreme poverty risk for older people. Initially, the 40% poverty threshold was used, but it captured a very small share of population in many countries, and there have also been income mis-measurement issues.

Caveats

Poverty is defined in relative rather than absolute terms and is measured in reference to the standard of living in the country in which the individual lives. This, however, may differ significantly across countries depending on their general level of prosperity which should be kept in mind when interpreting the results. Also, income is defined in monetary terms and excludes transfers such as publicly provided goods and services which might be particularly relevant for older people.

Comparability

Same as for indicator 3.2

 

3.6 No severe material deprivation

Definition

Percentage of people aged 65 years and older who are not severely materially deprived. Severe material deprivation refers to a state of economic and durable strain, defined as the enforced inability (rather than the choice not to do so) to afford at least four out of the following nine items:

  1. to pay their rent, mortgage or utility bills;
  2. to keep their home adequately warm;
  3. to face unexpected expenses;
  4. to eat meat or proteins regularly;
  5. to go on holiday;
  6. a television set;
  7. a washing machine;
  8. a car;
  9. a telephone.

Goal (rationale)

It is one of the three indicators that aim to measure financial security. The indicator shows the proportion of individuals and households who cannot afford certain goods considered by most people to be necessary. It measures exclusion by directly capturing people’s actual standard of living in the country where they live. Moreover, whereas indicators based on current income (i.e. at-risk-of-poverty rate) are affected by transitory shocks, indicators on material deprivation can compensate for such limitations because they tend to be more stable over time and reflect the underlying circumstances of individuals and households.

Survey question

Data on the material items mentioned above is collected using a direct question at the household level.

Source

European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC)

Year

2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016

Notes

The indicator is one of the eight headline indicators of the Europe 2020 Strategy. However, it has the limitation that it considers various items of material deprivation with equal weighting (e.g. lacking a TV set is considered equivalent to inability to keep home warm).

Comparability

Same as for indicator 3.2

 

3.7 Physical safety

Definition

Percentage of people aged 55 years and older who are feeling very safe or safe to walk after dark in their local area.

Goal (rationale)

The objective is to assess whether the responding older person feels safe in his/her local area.

Survey question

‘How safe do you – or would you - feel walking alone in this area (Respondent’s local area or neighbourhood) after dark? Do – or would – you feel’

  1. very safe
  2. safe
  3. unsafe
  4. very unsafe

Source

European Social Survey (ESS)

Year

2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016

Notes

A reference to the area (situated close to the place where the respondent live) is clearly indicated.  The age group of 55+ is chosen so as to be consistent with the same age group chosen to measure the activities of older population in the 1st domain (Employment) and the 2nd domain (Participation in society).

Please note that the 2012 Active Ageing Index (AAI) was using data from the same data source, but indicator was revised. Previously, the ESS question used was:

“How often, if at all, do you worry about becoming a victim of violent crime?

  1. All or most of the time                             
  2. Some of the time
  3. Just occasionally                                          
  4. Never”

The question is no longer included in the core questionnaire of ESS. In order to meet the comparability aim across years, the indicator was revised.

We assume that both should indicate the perceived safety of the local area. Results show that for majority of countries the same pattern is observed in the two indicators in terms of ranking into quartiles. Still, some important differences also occur, which seem to be specific to the context. In Central European countries (e.g. Czech Republic, Latvia and Hungary) older people are much less worried about the crime than walking in dark in their local area compared to the other countries. In Finland, Sweden, Spain: the opposite trend is observable: they have better ranking in terms of safety of walking in dark, but are much lower ranked in terms of perceived problems like crime in the local area.

Caveats

The variable a subjective assessment and thus affected by different levels of awareness and sensitivity towards area safety for older people.

Malta is missing from all waves of ESS; also, not all countries participated in all waves; all results for Luxembourg are drawn from ESS 2004.

Comparability

Question asked in the same format in all used ESS survey rounds.

 

3.8 Lifelong learning

Definition

Percentage of people aged 55 to 74 who stated that they received education or training in the four weeks preceding the survey.

Goal (rationale)

The indicator measures all education or training, not only those which are work-related. Therefore, it captures the way individuals acquire key competences in the shape of knowledge, skills and attitudes, which are fundamental for each individual in a knowledge-based society. These competences provide added value for the labour market, social cohesion and active citizenship by offering flexibility and adaptability, satisfaction and motivation.

Survey question

Did you attend any courses, seminars, conferences or received private lessons or instructions within or outside the regular education system within the last 4 weeks

1 Yes

2 No

Source

EU Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS)

Year

2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016

Notes

The information collected relates to all education or training whether or not relevant to the respondent's current or possible future job. It includes formal and non-formal education and training that means in general activities in the school/university systems but also courses, seminars workshops, etc. outside the formal education.

Data from surveys of vocational training was not considered since the goal of this indicator is older people’s engagement in all types of training and not those linked with employment or vocation.

Comparability

EU-LFS. See details http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/c/portal/layout?p_l_id=203676&p_v_l_s_g_id=0

 

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