“Old Age” is Getting Older

It probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that the definition of old age has made some dramatic strides in recent years. One recent study concluded that most people define the beginning of old age to be 68 years old. Yet another study concluded that old age doesn’t get underway until the surprisingly advanced age of 80!

This study was commissioned by website PayingTooMuch, which does comparison surveys. The website asked 2,000 Britons, older than 40, which age they believe is the beginning of “old age.” The average answer the respondents gave was “80!”

The researchers asked themselves: “What prompted the respondents to give such an answer which is almost two decades older than previous generations believed?”

Perhaps delayed retirement, more active lifestyles, and the personal knowledge of many people living into their 80s gives this impression. In addition, the presence of older celebrities in the news and entertainment industry has added to the impression that old age starts much later than ever before.

Among those who do retire, this stage of life simply ain’t what it used to be.

“For many, retirement is the start of a whole new chapter and pensioners are traveling the world, taking up new hobbies and in some cases, leading more active and exciting lifestyles than when they were younger,” a spokesman for PayingTooMuch.com said.

“Old people” simply do not nap and knit anymore. They travel and go to the gym, unless, of course, this lifestyle is out of reach financially. In Britain retirees are called “pensioners” because they draw an income, called a pension. In the USA for a growing number of older people, this simply does not happen. And retirement is being pushed back in the US as well. In 1991 only 11 percent of working people thought they would work past the age of 65. In 2013 that number was up to 36 percent, according to the Huffington Post.