New Study: You’re Not “Old” Until Age 74

A new study shows that the baby boomer generation can expect to be categorized as middle-aged longer than previously, not arriving to “old age” until the ripe young age of 74.

That is a nine-year extension of middle age compared with people who turned old at the age of 65 during the 1950s. The British Office of National Statistics says that the average retired person can expect to live on their pensions for about 24 years, about 50 percent longer than during their parents’ generation.

According to researchers, old age is defined as the last 15 years of one’s life. This means, given the longer life expectancy of baby boomers compared with their parents, boomers get an extension on their middle years. The academics argue that old age should be determined not by one’s age, but by how much longer a person can expect to live.
“If you don’t consider people old just because they reached age 65 but instead take into account how long they have left to live, then the faster the increase in life expectancy, the less aging is actually going on,” said Sergei Scherbov, World Population Program Deputy Director, at International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna.

“Older people in the future will have many characteristics exhibited by younger people today.

“What we think of as old has changed over time, and it will need to continue changing in the future as people live longer, healthier lives. 200 years ago, a 60-year-old would be a very old person. Someone who is 60 years old today, I would argue is middle aged.”