75 now seen as the beginning of old age: study

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Changing views on aging: Study finds a shift in perception to 75 as the onset of old age.

NEW YORK, April 25: A recent study conducted by the American Psychological Association suggests a shift in perceptions regarding the onset of old age, with findings indicating that individuals now consider 75 to be the threshold for entering this stage of life.

Markus Wettstein, a professor at Humboldt University in Berlin and the lead author of the study, attributes this change to factors such as increased life expectancy and improvements in health outcomes over time. Analyzing data from the German Ageing Survey, which involved over 14,000 participants, researchers from Stanford University, the University of Luxembourg, and Greifswald University Hospital explored evolving attitudes towards aging.

Their analysis revealed that age, gender, and health status significantly influence individuals’ perceptions of old age. As participants aged, their concept of when old age begins shifted accordingly. For instance, the average respondent at age 64 considered old age to commence at around 74, whereas by age 74, the perception shifted to approximately 77.

According to the study, the perceived onset of old age increased by approximately one year for every four to five years of actual aging. Additionally, generational differences were evident, with individuals born later in the 20th century tending to believe that old age begins later in life compared to their earlier-born counterparts.

Women, on average, identified old age as starting two years later than men, and this discrepancy became more pronounced over time. Furthermore, individuals reporting feelings of loneliness, poor health, or a sense of aging tended to perceive old age as beginning earlier than those who did not share these sentiments.

These findings shed light on the evolving societal understanding of aging and highlight the multifaceted factors that influence individuals’ perceptions of this life stage. As life expectancy continues to rise and healthcare advances improve quality of life, the definition and experience of old age are subject to ongoing reevaluation and adaptation.

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