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Is age just a number?

14th June 2019

Is age just a number or is it a sign of how someone should act? A new study explores the differences between your chronological age and ‘age inside’. As reported in The Conversation, age is often used as an indicator of your personality, behaviour, rights and privileges, however, researcher L.F Carver explores how this can differ from how you feel on the inside. Despite being older, and maybe even relying on stairlifts, many people still maintain the characteristics and traits of a younger person.

After analysing various studies that explore whether older people feel like they belong in their age category, LF. Carver conducted her own study titled The mask we wear: Chronological age versus subjective ‘age inside’ to find out more. The study involved interviewing 66 older adults between 65 to 90 years old, all of which are suffering from various illnesses. Each person was asked: “For many people, their age in years does not reflect the age that they really identify with, inside. How old are you inside?”

L.F Carver defines ‘age inside’ as: “The age inside concept under development here, is reflective of the hypothesis that the age inside is the age a person identifies with their inner self and it is not correlated with the person’s physical health, education, income adequacy or chronological age.”

The results showed that most participants felt decades younger than their actual age, highlighting 51 as the average age they felt. Some people commented they felt as young as 17 whilst 8% did feel their actual age. According to Carver’s research, females are more likely than males to feel younger.

The research, along with others like it, is becoming increasingly relevant as people are differing from the stereotypes of the over 60s. L.F Carver continues that developing a deeper understanding of this subject is the basis of intergenerational common ground for social issues. Companies may also benefit from the results, as more people opt to work beyond their retirement age despite being financially secure. Carver believes that ‘inside age’ is also an explanation for why older people are frequently adopting hobbies that are often associated with younger people, including yoga and sports cars. 

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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only and are up to date as of the time of publishing