New research shows that 70 really is the new 60

Longer life expectancies combined with healthier ageing means 65 is no longer 'old'.

Policymakers, and the boffins that calculate population projections, have long put the point at which you hit “old age’ at 65.

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But a new study says that that simply using an actual age may no longer be the best measure of human ageing. Instead, ageing should be measured by how long someone is likely to live any a given country in the 21st Century, the study says.

“Traditional population projections categorise ‘old age’ as a simple cutoff at age 65. But as life expectancies have increased, so too have the years that people remain healthy, active, and productive,” Science Daily, which reported on the study that was led by Stony Brook University in the US, explained.

That meant that the boundary of what’s considered ‘old age’ should shift with changes in life expectancy, Science Daily said, adding that that meant that 70 was effectively the new 60.

The study looked at the concept of population ageing, which is when the median age of a country’s population rises because of better life expectancy and lower birth rates. This issue has been a worry in developed countries for some time because of the perception that an ageing population meant fewer people of working age would be paying tax to cover the increasing cost of aged care, pensions and other age-related benefits.

The study suggests, however, that policymakers could consider that although life expectancy is increasing, people are generally remaining healthier and with better mental facilities for longer, and adjust their policies in line with this perception of ageing, rather than by using an actual age.

What do you think of the idea that 65 is ‘old’?