How old is old? It depends on the age of who you ask

Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:22pm EST
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - With 40 billed as the new 30 and baby boomers redefining the perceptions of aging, how old is old?

The answer, it seems, depends on the age of the person being asked, according to a new survey of Americans.

For Millennials, people born in the 1980s and 1990s, 62 is considered old, but Generations Xers, whose birth year fell between 1964 to 1970, don't think anyone is old until they reach 71, the Marist poll showed.

Baby boomers suggest old is a description that fits seniors 77 and older and members of the Greatest Generation, who lived through World War Two, don't think it is applicable description until 81 years old.

"Everybody has a different opinion about what being old is, where old age starts," said Roger Baumgart, the CEO of Home Instead Senior Care, which commissioned the telephone poll of 1,235 Americans across the country.

"There is a 19-year disparity between what the Millennials and the Greatest Generation think is old age," he added." As you age, your perception of aging is going to change."

Although the range for what is considered old was nearly two decades, the age to which each group wanted to live was more consistent at 89 to 92 years old.

Despite thinking 62 was old, Millennials said they would like to reach their 90th birthday.

"If you look at it, they are forecasting they will spend about a third of their lives in old age," said Baumgart.

The poll also uncovered a difference in age perception between the sexes, with women pushing the boundaries further than men. Women don't think they or men are old until 75 and 74 respectively. But for men it drops to 70 for themselves and 69 for women.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

 
<p>Joan Barnes (C), owner of Yoga Studio, takes a yoga class at her studio in San Francisco, California, in this March 29, 2006 file photo. REUTERS/Kimberly White</p>