We deny it. We fear it. We might feel it. Yet we are having increasing difficult defining what it is. Just when (or perhaps more precisely – what) is old age?
Can old age be determined by attitudes, activities, mentally, physically, biologically, etc. or is it just years? It is important to define it because year milestones can show considerable variation among those of similar chronological age.
Defining old is also varies by the age of the person being asked. A recent survey determined that only 11% of those 60 and older considered 63 to be “old” as compared to 47% of those born in the 1980’s-2000 (What is Old? Not 63 and not Me). In other words – older people are more likely to consider “old age” as something that occurs even later in life (How Old Do You Feel? It Depends on Your Age).
If that is not enough to complicate the concept of old, people often do not “feel” their age. Most of those over the age of 50 stated they felt at least 10 years younger according to national survey for the Pew Research Center. The youth revival did not stop there as about one third of those between 65 and 74 felt 10 to 19 years younger. Finally, about 17% of respondents 75 and older felt 20 years younger (How Old is Old age? ).
Baby Boomers (born from 1946 to 1964) are extending the “official” arrival to Old. In all fairness, people today are living longer, healthier lives, contributing more, and retiring later. Accordingly, expectations regarding retirement age are changing as well. Another survey found, 11% of workers anticipated working past age 65 in 1991. That number increased to 36% in 2013. Perhaps most telling that the quantity and quality of life have improved is a British study this week that revealed old begins at 80 (You’ll Never Guess When a New Study Says Old Age Begins — And 25 Signs You’ve Hit It)!
Regardless, 92 per cent of people see retirement as the start of a whole new part of life and about the same percentage believe ‘you are only as old as you feel’ (Old age now begins at 80, study finds).
Check out this 4 minute video by AARP when young adults were asked what is old, when, and what does that look like!
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