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When does old age actually begin? Scientists have an answer — it's not 30

This study shows that our perception of old age is evolving.

Women typically believed that old age began later than men [TCU]

A study published in the journal, Psychology and Aging, sheds new light on our perception of old age. It shows that this age is constantly getting further away.

Experts do not know the reason for this change, but they have no doubt that it is something very positive and completely logical. People are living longer and longer, so they feel younger and younger.

Scientists from the Humboldt University in Berlin conducted a study on a group of over 14,000 people. German adults aged 40 to 100 were asked when old age begins. The results showed that people born in 1911 believed that old age began on average at the age of 71. However, people born in 1956, who reached the age of 65, believed that old age began on average at the age of 74.

What's interesting is that it's not just a generational difference. People shift their perception of old age as they age. For example, at age 64, participants believed that old age began on average at age 74.4. However, when they reached the age of 74, they believed that they were still not old and claimed that old age began at the age of 76.8.

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Women typically believed that old age began later than men, and the gender gap increased with age. People who enjoyed better health, felt younger and less lonely were more optimistic, saying that old age begins later.

However, the authors of the study note that this trend appears to be slowing down. The study's lead author, Markus Wettstein, a professor of psychology at Humboldt University, suggests this may be because other trends, such as increases in life expectancy or medical advances, are also not strictly linear.

The study did not focus on the causes of the change in perceptions of old age, but scientists have some theories. Wettstein points to increases in life expectancy and the fact that older adults are now healthier than their peers in the past.

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The changing perception of old age is a positive phenomenon, experts say. "If you have a positive attitude towards aging, you will live 7.5 years longer," says Katharine Esty, social psychologist and author of the book, Eightysomethings.

It is emphasised that the key to aging well lies not only in the belief that you can live a long and active life, but also in making conscious efforts to achieve it.

This study shows that our perception of old age is evolving. This may be crucial to our ability to adapt to aging and benefit from the experience of older generations.

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This article was originally published on Onet Woman.

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