Exactly how old is “old aged”? 190



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Ever wondered why shopkeepers, advertisers and businesses treat you like you are old, even though you don’t feel it? Well, sadly it seems to be a matter of perception. Clearly many in society think those over 60 are “old aged”. The stereotypes of ageing were laid bare in a UK survey last year, and we want to hear your thoughts about this today! We want you to tell us how old “old aged” is to you.

A survey of British people by a team of Government researchers in 2013 declared that “old age” is reached in the perception of most people at the age of 59 years, two months and two weeks old…. Sorry folks. By British standards, almost everyone here at Starts at Sixty is what they consider old!  The survey of thousands asked the question of people aged from 16 years old up and yielded some rather entertaining, if somewhat ignorant results!

The poll results said that UK people consider themselves no longer young at just over 40 years old, in fact 40 years, eight months and two weeks.

Commissioned by the UK Department of Work and Pensions, the survey found women think old age starts at 60 years, four months and two weeks and men think it starts at 58. Could this be because men tend to live shorter lives?

Then, to cut the data up another way…

Those that were under 50, when surveyed said that old age begins at a ridiculously early point of 46 years old.  And for those over 50, they think old age begins at 62.

And amongst the 16 to 24 year olds, the age where middle age was thought to kick in at was 32.  In the people over 80 that were surveyed, they thought their middle aged years began at 52.

I sit back from this and laugh. Having run Starts at 60 for nearly two year I feel I know how young most of you feel, act and live, and I know first hand the contrasting misperceptions the young marketers and advertising agency kids have of those who are over 54. [One day I’ll tell you some entertaining stories that would make your toes curl up about young ad agency kids and what they say about the over 60 age group].

So let’s bust a few myths today. Let’s decide how old “old age” is to us… and whether over 60 is indeed old age in our eyes.

And tell us what you think of the above assumptions. We here at Starts at 60 hope to bust the misconceptions in society that 60 is “old aged”! Do you think people unfairly think people aged over 60 are old?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Old age doesn’t just kick in at a certain point — it’s on a continuum & literally very subjectively starts whenever you feel like it ! In fact, the point at which it “starts” seems to get delayed as long as you still feel young. Like the article says, it’s a matter of perspective, related to your age at the time! 🙂

  2. When you get the first scan or X-ray report with the words ” natural generation due to stated age” I looked in the mirror this morning and realised although I’m seventy this year I don’t remember my grandmother looking this young at this age. Big plus for me and modern medicine.

    3 REPLY
    • Pegi both my parents were dead by 62 .I am 71 and fiter than my dad was at 40.

    • Mm, I feel the same. I don’t even dress as my grandmother did at 70yrs. I wear trousers, even jeans on occasion but Is till like dresses.

  3. I never considered myself old, even at nearly 60, until a physiotherapist where I worked thought I shouldn’t be lifting the disabled because of my age! I began to rethink my age then. However, I am still as strong as many who are younger than me. Age is a state of mind and if I keep away from mirrors, I still feel 39.

  4. When I was a teenager,40 was old, later in life when I was 40, 70 was old, now I’m in my 60 s 80 is old. I still feel about 50

  5. I can remember when I was 16 I thought 30 was old but now I think it would be around 80 and time to be looked after.

  6. Age is a state of mind. You can be “old” at 40 if you choose to be, or you can be “young” at 80 and beyond. At 60 I feel like a big kid. I sometimes hear the press refer to people in their 60’s as elderly, and I will think how offensive. I was excited to turn 60, and I am really looking forward to the coming years. I’m not planning on being “old” any time soon, that’s for sure.

    1 REPLY
    • I agree with you Rose, age is a state of mind. I am 61, feel young, look young ( well I think so and that is all that counts), dress well…sure I take panadol osteo for arthritis in my hands, but I go for walks and ride my bike along with my husband who is 70… We are enjoying our retirement years by getting out there and traveling this great country, I am not going to get old any time soon,

  7. Sometimes I feel old but when I take my pills, blood pressure or what ever or even pain killers I feel young again. But to be honest I felt the same way when I was in my twenty’s through to my now sixty’s sometimes I feel very old other times I feel young again.
    You are only as young as you feel on the day feeling old can start at any age.

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