"I'm not interested in being immortal. I like ageing."
"Old age" is what is defined as "old age" and the perception very much depends on the age of the persons asked. In a study, participants (n=300, 150 men and 150 women, mean age 58.8) were interviewed using a quetionnaire on the age perceived as old.
According to the sample, 73.7 years is the lower bound of "old age" (answers ranged from 45 to 100 years). A closer look at the participants' age shows an impact their age had on their definition: Participants under 65 reported 70.5 years to be the beginning of old age while participants over 65 marked 77.4 as the beginning of old age - a difference of almost 7 years. In other words, the older a particpant, the later the beginning of old age.
Men perceived old age 3 years before women and those reporting good health perceived it 3.9 years earlier than those with excellent health. In fact, health deterioration was "the most reported factor in the perception of old age" (Daignault, Wassef & Nguyen, 2021).
- Daignault, M., Wassef, A. & Nguyen, Q. D. (2021). How old is old? Identifying a chronological age and factors related with the perception of old age. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 69(11), 3330-3333.
- photograph by the great Vivian Maier via