Adults in the UK consider themselves to be staying younger for longer according to a new study, with most people believing that middle age now begins at 55. The research also found that most Britons do not define themselves as being “elderly” until the reach the age of 70.
The report comes from Love to Learn, who surveyed 1,000 adults over the age of 50. As people are staying healthier for longer, the concept of “old-aged” is being redefined. as we are changing our opinions on getting old. The study also found the desire to learn new skills peaks in the late 60s, fuelled by a desire to keep pace with a fast-changing world.
Oscar winning actress Dame Helen Mirren, aged 67 and Alan Tichmarsh, 63 were both were identified by the Love to Learn research as epitomising the vitality and success of modern ‘middle age’. Carol Voderman, 51, Lorraine Kelly, 52, Stephen Fry, 55 and Gary Linekar, 51, also featured high on the list.
For the first time, there are more adults in the UK aged over 45 than under 45 and more people aged over 65 than are under 16, according to Office for National Statistics data.
Gill Jackson, director of Love to Learn, said: “These new middle-agers are active, want to enjoy life and certainly don’t see themselves as ‘old age pensioners’!
“In fact, our research found that adults in their 50s are overwhelmingly upbeat about the benefits of their age group. They have greater freedom and financial security. More than half said they have more confidence and experience than younger people and are less afraid of making mistakes and a vast majority (87 per cent) have a huge appetite to learn new things and take up new hobbies.”
Broadcaster John Craven is helping to launch the Love to Learn website and new courses said: “I think the concept of ageing has changed so much. Only a generation ago, many people were pretty old at 60. These days, most of us in our middle and later years are much younger in our attitudes and it’s all about having an active state of mind and the confidence to experience new things.
“It’s a time to take on challenges and enjoy fresh interests – or maybe rekindle those that fell by the wayside as work and family commitments took over. I’m lucky to still be working but I do have more spare time now, so I’m building up a list of things I’m going to do, such as improve my French, study astronomy and be a better photographer.”
For more information on Love to Learn, visit: www.lovetolearn.co.uk