People 'begin to feel old at 59'

07 January 2013 09:04

Perceptions of old age vary greatly depending on people's age and gender, a new survey has found

Perceptions of old age vary greatly depending on people's age and gender, a new survey has found

A new survey has found that people stop feeling young just after their 40th birthday and begin to feel old just before they turn 60. The poll among 2,182 Britons, commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions, found that people on average no longer consider themselves to be young when they are 40 years, eight months and two weeks old, while old age begins when they are 59 years, two months and two weeks old. These figures would suggest that those who plan to enjoy their golden years by travelling the world should do so before they reach their 60th birthday, and should not forget to take out senior travel insurance before setting off.

However, the research also found that perceptions of young, middle and old age showed great variation depending on the age, gender and employment status of those polled. While women believe old age begins at 60 years, four months and two weeks, the male respondents said it begins at the age of 58. And while over-50s on average believe old age starts at 62 years and six months, those under the age of 50 feel it starts more than 16 years earlier, at just 46.

Perceptions of when middle age begins also vary widely, the poll revealed. Women believe it begins at 42 years and nine months, while men think it starts at 38 years and six months. People over the age of 80 said they stopped feeling young at the age of 52, while 16 to 24 year-olds believe they will no longer feel young once they reach the age of 32.

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