There is a general feeling,
especially among the middle-aged, that life begins at 40! Now it appears that
the belief has to be tinkered with and made to read "mid-life begins at 40!
According to a recent study which
was done to evaluate the attitude towards ageing, the general opinion is that
we should stop calling ourselves young when we reach 40 years eight months and
two weeks!! The poll, carried out for the Department for Work and Pensions,
involved 2,171 people who were 16 years or over.
The survey revealed that most
Brits believed that old age begins when they complete 59 years, two months and
There was a stark difference in
opinions depending on age groups and gender. For instance most men believe that
being young stops at age 38 and a half, while for women the cut off is at 42
years and nine months.
Also, women believe old age sets
in at 60 years, four months and two weeks while men think it comes much earlier
- at 58 years! The difference may be because
women tend to live longer or may be because men focus more on their diminishing
For those below the age of 50,
old age begins at 46 years and nine months, while for those over 62 years it
began at 62 years, seven months and two weeks. Those in the age group 16-24
years believed that being young stopped at 32 while those who were 80 and above
believed that it was after 52 years.
The Department for Work and
Pensions has stated that 'the disparity in perceptions' showed 'the potential
for age stereotypes to be applied in very inconsistent ways.'
Class and income are also factors that influence a person's perception of age.
People who are unemployed perceived that youth ended nine years earlier in
comparison to those with full time jobs. It is also interesting to note that
those who lived in council houses believed that old age began five years
earlier to those who had their own homes.
The study revealed that the older people get,
the later they think that old age begins! Also, there is a lot of negative
attitude, regarding ageing and what older people can do, among younger people
which is worrying!