There are some interesting reactions to the concept of growing old, what to expect.
The Saying Has Been Around Forever. You’re Only As Old As You Feel
I think it’s fair to say that for most, the feeling we have after 60 is not described as old.
Many of us work into our mid 60’s. Some even later. Often, the work we do has a lot to say about how we feel.
Those with active, physical jobs, well, they aren’t so apt to enjoy working as much as those with a more sedentary work environment.
A school teacher may stay at it longer than a fireman.
Perhaps that’s why I have the position I do on social security reform in the United States.
To increase the retirement age may sound trivial when considering the ever increasing life expectancy.
- Not everybody lives to be eighty years old. Those that worked until 65 and died before they reached 70, didn’t enjoy much retirement. Imagine if the new age is 67 or 68.
- Those of us working highly physical jobs at age 65, don’t relish the idea of having to continue working for two or three more years to qualify for a retirement plan we contributed to for forty years.
- For many, serious health issues begin to appear after turning 60. The benefits of retirement may become a necessity rather than an option.
Perhaps those at a desk or behind a counter don’t have the same view as the guy shoveling coal hundreds of feet underground.
Having Said That
I found this information from a 2009 study by the Pew Research Center. I know it’s a bit dated but I think it’s worth a look.
They did a study of how various age groups define being old.
They covered a lot of territory. I thought I would try to boil some of it down. See if you agree.
I don’t have a definition for ‘happiness’. I assume we all know it when we have it. Before we get to that, let’s first find out who is old.
Who Do You Say Is Old?
Answers vary, depending on your point of view.
Of those asked, 32% say that old age begins at 65. Compare that to the 23% who say it starts at retirement.
My grandchildren would agree with the group supporting 65 as the official beginning of old age. I’m not so sure.
I think that health issues have a bearing on how seniors will answer the question.
No matter how you define old age, you know it when you get there.
The Pew Research Center report had answers all over the map. Here are a few of the thoughts from those surveyed
- 63% considered old age occurs when you frequently forget family names.
- 51% said lack of bladder control was the beginning of old age
- 46% considered, no longer sexually active, as the onset of old age
- 44% said being retired is old
- 29% said having grandchildren was a sign of being old
This is the chart from the Pew Research Center Study. Chart
The big takeaway from this study to determine when old age begins, is the feeling of seniors themselves.
Officially, the average answer to: When does old age begin? 68.
This Is Interesting
The number one challenge of aging was memory loss according to the Pew study.
Of those surveyed who were under 65, 57% believed memory loss as significant. Only 25% of those over 65 held the same view.
The Upside Of Aging
Pew Research Center attempted to define who was happy and what exactly is happiness.
The Pew had 70% of those 65 and older answering, enjoying time with family.
Pew research tried to find out what makes seniors happy.
The findings are not surprising. The majority of those asked, agreed; it is the same things that makes everybody happy. Good health, good friends, time with family, and financial security.
Marriage holds less significance among older adults. Pew suggests it is because many seniors are widowed and have already realized the happiness of marriage.
The Downside Of Aging
Health issues are the greatest challenge older people face. Not to diminish those with serious financial challenges, health is number one.
There is an old saying that everybody has health issues if the live long enough. Well, by definition, older people have lived a long time.
Health issues will take it’s toll on happiness and quality of life.
Pew pointed out in their study that they had difficulty obtaining valid statistics.
The challenge was the ability to interview seniors. They found that many people over 65, were unable to spend the twenty minutes on the phone to complete the survey.
The inability was due to health troubles. Others were in institutions and unable to participate in the study.
While none of us are given a guarantee of long life, we all like the concept of being healthy as we age. It is the focus of HealthyLivingAfter60.com to provide information on growing old, what to expect and how to deal with the challenges.
Perhaps some of the information here will help to make these, the best years yet.
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