At What Age Are You Old?

At 68.

That’s the average of all answers from the 2,969 PEW Research survey respondents.

And to make things even more arresting, more than half of adults under 30 say the average person becomes old even before turning 60.

But talk to any adult over 50 and they will vehemently disagree. Of course, everyone has a different opinion on the subject of aging. One’s gender and age are factors that have great influence on the varying attitudes and opinions about aging.

Without a doubt the population in North America is aging. The 79 million member US Baby Boomer generation (born 1946-1965) accounts for 26% of the total U.S. population. By 2050, according to Pew Research projections, about one-in-five Americans will be over age 65, and about 5% will be ages 85 and older.

Canadian statistics are similar. By 2030, the year in which the youngest baby boomers will reach age 65, one in four persons in Canada will be aged 65 years or over. The proportion of older seniors among the total senior population aged 65 years and over will also increase significantly by 2045.

But don’t tell Boomers that old age starts by 68. The typical Boomer believes that old age doesn’t begin until age 72, according to a Pew Research survey.

Plus, over 60% of adults over 50 say they feel younger than their actual age, In fact, the typical Boomer feels 9 years younger than his or her chronological age.

So, do you think you are old? Probably your answer is a resounding no! Although the survey suggests the average person becomes old at age 68, you’ll have a tough time finding people in that age cohort who agree. The expression “you are as young as you feel” has never been truer with the Boomer generation on the brink of their mature years. With many 50 and 60 something ‘weekend warriors’ pushing the limits of health and fitness, they won’t go down without a healthy fight.

So, how long do the energetic Boomers wish to live? An AARP survey found that the average desired life span was at least 89 years. But, the bar may soon be pushed higher. Take the example of 105-year-old Frenchman Robert Marchand, setting a new 1-hour cycling record for his age in early January. Marchand cycled 22.5 km or 14 miles in one hour, but suggested he could have gone faster. “I didn’t see the sign saying there were 10 minutes to go, otherwise I would have speeded up,” said Marchand.

So how will you live the next 30-40 years?

As Colin Milner, CEO of ICAA suggests, successful aging is all in your attitude. Embrace a can-do attitude, don’t let aches and pains slow you down and try to forget the obsession with youth. Stay healthy and exuberant. Remember, you have a whole lot of living to do, and age is only a number.

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