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When does aging begin? How does longevity deceive the elderly?

When does aging begin?  How does longevity deceive the elderly?

Human interest

It's an old question.

Researchers have found that perceptions of age vary significantly between generations, with older people more likely to experience “age group disintegration” when they insist they are not old yet.

Researchers from the University of Berlin, in collaboration with academics at Stanford University, the University of Luxembourg and the University of Greifswald in Germany, examined the responses of 14,056 Germans to prompts about aging, collected between 1996 and 2021. The study was published in the Journal of Psychology and Aging.

Among the questions: “At what age would you describe someone as old?”

In answers collected from 2021, participants aged 65 insisted that they were still a long way from being classified as elderly – asserting that, on average, old age begins at 74.

However, the 25-year-old participants had a completely different view, implying that the people surveyed were in denial about how far they had truly come.

On average, 25-year-olds declared that aging begins when a person turns 66.

The huge eight-year gap between responses highlights how different generations are in understanding the aging process.

The researchers said that older participants could experience “age disengagement,” described as “the process of psychologically distancing oneself from the undesirable state of aging and from the older group.”

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Jane Fonda, 86, is regularly described as “age-defying.” Denver Post via Getty Images

However, because different responses were collected over 25 years, the researchers were able to conclude that perceptions of aging had changed over time.

In general, the average age at which a person is considered “old” is backward.

During the first years that project data were recorded, 65-year-old participants said aging began at age 71, three years earlier than the age reported by 65-year-old participants in 2021.

“Life expectancy has increased, which may contribute to later onset of aging,” said study author Marcus Wettstein. press release.

“Also, some aspects of health have improved over time, so people of a certain age who were considered old in the past may not be considered old today.”

President Joe Biden
Joe Biden has been classified as “too old” to serve as commander-in-chief. The president will turn 82 in November. AP

The survey results confirm Separate study About aging conducted in Germany.

In data collected for this study in 2008, participants perceived aging as beginning when a person reached 61.9 years of age.

By 2018, this age had been postponed, with most participants citing age 66 as the beginning of old age.

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