Through the analysis of the Istat Multipurpose Survey data 2012-2013, this paper investigates how the differences in gender, social position, and family composition affect the elderly population with respect to certain specific diseases and to loss of self-sufficiency. A multivariate analysis reveals that women and the less educated parts of the population are subject to higher risk of chronic diseases and to loss of self-sufficiency. The risk of loneliness is particularly high in the women, especially in the extremely old ones, even in case of longterm care requirements. Thus social and healthcare policies sustaining the elder parts of the population with respect to long term care have a crucial role not only for the poorest segments of the society but especially for the women.
Keywords: Aging, health, gender differences, social conditions, family