Old age now begins at 80, a study revealed today.
Research carried out among 2,000 over 40s found that you are considered old and past it as soon as you have finished celebrating your 80th birthday.
Thanks to healthier and more active lifestyles, working later in life and older people in the spotlight, ‘old age’ now starts almost 20 years later than previous generations believed.
It also emerged that falling asleep while watching TV or reading the paper, becoming forgetful and groaning when you get out of bed are among the top signs you are getting old.
Saying ‘back in my day’, choosing comfort over style and having an afternoon nap also feature in the top ten.
A spokesman for PayingTooMuch.com, which commissioned the research, said: ‘Perceptions of old age have changed a lot over the last few years.
”There was a time when you were considered old or past it as soon as you retired, but this age has now got much later as we are leading healthier and more active lives well into our 70s.
”Pensioners are no longer seen as people who spend their days sat in their armchair knitting or watching black and white films in the afternoon before a little nap.
”For many, retirement is the start of a whole new chapter and pensioners are travelling the world, taking up new hobbies and in some cases, leading more active and exciting lifestyles than when they were younger.
”As well as this, people are working later in life than ever before and even if they don’t feel particularly young or fit, it adds to the illusion that they are still young.
”But while you might not be ‘old’ until much later in life now, it’s important not to put off decisions regarding retirement or later years such as life insurance, wills or pensions.
”Old age might seem far off for most, but it’s better to be prepared now than regret not doing something later on.”
The study of 2,000 Brits aged 40 and above found that old age now begins at 80, with just 17 per cent believing old is anything less than 70.
More than one in five even reckons you can reach 90 before you are considered old.
But 90 per cent believe the ‘past it’ age has risen considerably over the last generation, with the average adult admitting 30 years ago, they would have seen 63 as over the hill.
Eighty-five per cent put this down to people living longer, while almost two thirds think it’s due to pensioners leading more active lifestyles.
Other reasons include working until later in life, leading healthier lifestyles and people being more independent later in life.
Almost one in five even believe it’s because of the number of celebrities and famous figures, such as Queen Elizabeth and Bruce Forsyth – who are both well into their eighties – still working and in the spotlight.
Eighty-eight per cent of Brits also believe people start slowing down much later than they did previously.
And while 92 per cent of people believe there was a time when you were considered old as soon as you started to collect your pension, nowadays, the same number see retirement as the start of a whole new part of your life.
It also emerged that 93 per cent believe ‘you are only as old as you feel’ with 82 per cent of over 40s admitting they feel younger than their actual age, by an average of 11 years.
And 61 per cent feel like old age is a long way off for them.
But because of this, four in ten admit they are putting off important decisions such as life insurance or pensions because the age of being old seems so far away still.
Signs of ‘old age’
1. Fall asleep watching TV or reading the paper
2. You become forgetful
3. You groan when getting up from a chair or out of bed
4. You say ‘back in my day’
5. Choose clothes for comfort rather than style
6. You repeat yourself
7. You have no idea what is in the music charts
8. You insist ‘things aren’t as they used to be’
9. Choosing places to eat because they play quiet music
10. You have an afternoon nap
11. Not knowing the names of current celebrities
12. People offer you a seat on public transport
13. You prefer to stay in rather than go out drinking
14. You have a low tolerance for teenagers
15. Forget where your glasses are
16. Choosing to meet friends for lunch or dinner rather than a night out or drinks
17. Choosing a cup of tea over an alcoholic drink
18. Wear slipper all the time
19. You watch ‘old’ TV shows like Antiques Roadshow
20. Spend weekends or bank holidays in garden centres
21. Gardening in a hobby
22. Only listen to music from your youth
23. You don’t hesitate to complain about poor customer service
24. You always take an umbrella or coat out with you, just in case
25. You get a haircut to ‘suit your age’