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Scientists believe age we deem

30th April 2015

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Due to people living longer, scientists have suggested that the ages we consider middle and old age should be reclassified. This means that people may not be considered middle aged until they are 60, and of an old age until they are in their early 70s.

The research suggests that we don’t think of ourselves as old until we are 10 to 15 years away from the average life expectancy, which is 82.8 for women and 79 for men. This could mean that when you are reaching retirement, you are deemed middle aged, rather than an ‘old age pensioner’.

Researcher Dr Sergei Scherbov, said: “Age can be measured as the time already lived or it can be adjusted taking into account the time left to live.”

Life expectancy is increasing so age classifications should reflect this

Reasons for increased life expectancy include better education, modern medicine and improvements in diet, lifestyle and living conditions. This includes people being more independent at home, with the addition of mobility aids such as reconditioned stair lifts and services such as meals on wheels.

In an article published by the Daily Mail, Dr Sergei Scherboy also said: “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. Someone who is 60 years old today, I would argue is middle-aged. Two hundred years ago, a 60-year-old would be a very old person.”

He also suggests that if old age continues to remain fixed, the proportion of old people will increase with the increasing life expectancy. However, if the threshold is moved in order to take into account people living longer lives, the proportion of older people would actually decrease over time. The researchers feel that if this is ignored, then there could be a risk of producing distorted figures.

Image Credit: George Redgrave (Flickr.com)

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.