Who says I’m old?

Who says I’m old? Certainly not the population researchers at the think tank, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

They say I’m middle aged. Even though I’ve just turned 71.

In fact, lead researcher Sergei Scherbov suggests that middle age begins at 60. According to the researchers, old age should be determined not by how long you have lived but by how long you have left to live.

The new thinking is that old age begins when you have 15 or fewer years left to live. Statistically, for the Baby Boomers, that puts old age starting at 74. Plus 15 and you die at 89.

Given the theory that 60 is the new 40, that means you are middle aged from 60 to 74.

Great stuff. I could have told them that 11 years ago when I turned 60 and qualified for a Seniors Card. Or six years ago when I turned 65 and qualified for the pension.

I could have told them that 11 years ago when I was still working, playing sport, keeping fit and eating healthily and when neither I nor my contemporaries considered ourselves ‘old’. And I could have told them the same thing six years ago.

All of which means that I’m very pleased with Sergei Scherbov and his research team in confirming what I knew all along – that I still have a way to go before I hit old age.

I hope the media now takes notice. I’m sick of reading news stories which report how an elderly grandmother aged 62 bravely fought off a youth who tried to grab her handbag. Or the volunteer with a disabled riding group who “demonstrates surprising agility and dexterity for a 65-year-old”.

And what about those online forms which want to know all about you so that they can pester you with unwanted marketing emails? What age bracket are you, they ask, giving you a decade by decade option until the final one is 60+ as if there is no life left beyond this advanced age.

The next time someone asks how old I am, I shall simply reply: I’m middle aged.

Len Horne

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