The amount of time that Estonian residents aged 50 and above have spent in education and employment is longer than in most other countries of Europe, it appears from the findings of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE).
Liili Abuladze, researcher at the Estonian Center for Population Studies at Tallinn University, described it as an interesting and surprising finding of the survey that the length of the time spent in education and the length of the career of Estonian residents is among the longest in Europe, whereas the length of time spent with family is among the shortest, spokespeople for the university said.
When it comes to these outcomes, Estonia is similar to other countries of the Nordic region.
“I believe that Estonians definitely are very hardworking. In addition, there have been institutional or political measures in place for a longer time in other countries, especially countries of Western and Northern Europe, which enable people to retire earlier and still have a sufficiently high standard of living afterwards,” Abuladze said.
In other countries of Europe women of the older generation have stayed home with children significantly longer than in Estonia. In many countries of Western Europe, for instance, women have stayed at home after having children or started working part-time.
The new book, “Health and Socio-Economic Status over the Life Course,” gives an overview of the first results of the new wave 6 and 7 data of SHARE, which is already used by national, European and global policymakers for optimal policy design.
It appears from the findings of the fresh survey that there is a close interconnection between social networks and cognitive capabilities.
On Estonia, the survey found that about 30 percent of elderly residents of the country observe an unhealthy diet and do not eat fruits and vegetables every day.
“Older people living alone in Estonia have unhealthier eating habits than those living in a household with others. Hence, living together with others may have an effect on people’s health behavior,” Abuladze said.
SHARE is a multidisciplinary, cross-national and longitudinal survey that uses the “natural laboratory” of Europe to better understand the ageing process.
With waves 6 and 7, SHARE has added further valuable pieces to the ageing puzzle. The two new waves drive the number of respondents and interviews to 140,000 and 380,000, respectively, while now covering all 26 continental EU member states plus Switzerland and Israel. Where wave 6 deepens the objective measurement of health via biomarkers, wave 7 strengthens SHARE’s longitudinal dimension by collecting life-history data in all 28 countries.
Some 7,000 people in Estonia took part in the SHARE wave 7 survey.