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More Danes than ever reaching 100th birthdays

Increasing numbers of Danes are enjoying long lives with more years of good mental health, says a report.

More Danes than ever reaching 100th birthdays
Legendary Danish journalist and author Lise Nørgaard celebrating her 100th birthday in Copenhagen. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Scanpix

Three times as many people in Denmark are reaching their centenaries compared to 25 years ago, reports broadcaster DR.

The report says that 1,143 Danes could boast one hundred years of life at the beginning of 2017, compared with 367 in 1992.

The list of Danish centenarians now also includes hugely-popular author and journalist Lise Nørgaard, creator of the legendary 1970s DR television series Matador, who celebrates her 100th birthday today.

Despite her high age, Nørgaard was able to give a series of in-depth interviews to the broadcaster for a documentary programme to be released to mark her centenary.

Improved living conditions in a host of aspects, including better working environments, housing, healthcare and elderly care can all be thanked for the longer and better quality of senior years enjoyed by increasing numbers of Danes, says the report.

READ ALSO: Denmark is one of the best places to grow old

Kaare Christensen, head of the Centre for Age Research at the University of Southern Denmark, told DR that the trend of longer and better lives was likely to continue.

“Elderly people reach old age with better and better mental states, and the data we have… indicates that this progression will continue for many years. It appears that a good start in life with regard to IQ also means high IQ is retained in later life,” he said.

Danish military recruitment tests have shown an increase in the average intelligence of young men during the 20th century, according to DR’s report.

“The combination of a good head, IT and economy is positive both for the elderly and on a societal level, as it means elderly people can do many things themselves,” Christensen said.

The current average life expectancy for Danes is 82.2 years for women and 78.8 years for men, according to Statistics Denmark.

But although its number of centenarians is increasing, Denmark still finds itself behind many other OECD countries on life expectancy at the age of 65.

READ ALSO: Denmark's oldest woman dies at 110

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Denmark has world’s best pension system

For the third year in a row, Denmark has topped an Australian study comparing the pension systems of 25 different countries.

Denmark has world's best pension system
Go ahead and shut your shop down, sir. Denmark has the best pension system in the world. Photo: Mads Nissen/Scanpix
Denmark has the best pension system in the world, according to the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index (MMGPI) released on Monday.
 
In the study, which looked at the pension systems of 25 countries, Denmark was the only nation to receive an ‘A’ grade, signifying “a first class and robust retirement income system that delivers good benefits, is sustainable and has a high level of integrity.” Following Denmark, with a ‘B+’ grade, were Australia and the Netherlands. 
 
It was the third year in a row that Denmark topped the list, and according to the MMGPI, Denmark increased its lead on other countries slightly since the last survey based on factors including a higher savings rate.
 
“Denmark’s retirement income system comprises a public basic pension scheme, a means-tested supplementary pension benefit, a fully funded contributions scheme and mandatory occupational schemes,” the report reads. 
 
Despite Denmark’s top placing on the list, the MMGPI suggests that the country’s pension system could be further improved by raising the level of household savings, increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages and introducing protections for both parties in a divorce. 
 
Accounting for Danes’ longer life expectancies, the retirement age for the public pension scheme (folkepension) will be raised in tiers. While some Danes are still retiring at age 65, the folkepension age was raised to 67 for those born in 1955 and later. For Danes born after December 31, 1962, the pension age will rise to 68 in 2030 and 69 in 2035. 
 
In another recent international study, HelpAge International's Global AgeWatch Index ranked Denmark as the 12th best country to grow old
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