At 68. That’s the consensus, according to data released by Pew Research Center.
What’s even more arresting is the fact that more than than 50% of the young adults surveyed believe a person is ‘old’ before they turn 60. But talk to any adult over the age of 50 and they will vehemently disagree. Of course, everyone has a different opinion on the subject of aging. Gender and age and experience all greatly influence our attitude and outlook on growing older.
There’s little doubt the population in North America is aging. The 79 million member U.S. Baby Boomer generation (those born 1946-1965) accounts for 26% of the total U.S. population. By 2050, according to Pew Research Center projections, about one-in-five Americans will be over age 65, and about 5% will be ages 85 and older.
Canadian statistics are similar. By 2030, the year in which the youngest Baby Boomers will reach age 65, one in four Canadians will be 65 or older.
But don’t tell Boomers that old age starts at 68. The typical Boomer believes that old age doesn’t begin until age 74. Plus — and maybe more importantly — 60% of adults over 50 say they feel younger than their actual age. In fact, the typical Boomer feels nine years younger than their chronological age.
So, how long do energetic Boomers wish to live? One AARP survey found that the average desired life span was at least 89 years. But the bar may soon be pushed even higher.
Take, for example, 105-year-old Frenchman Robert Marchand, who in January 2017 set a new cycling record for his age group. Marchand cycled 22.5 km or 14 miles in one hour, but suggested he could have gone even faster: “I didn’t see the sign saying there was 10 minutes to go, otherwise I would have sped up,” he said.
The expression “you’re as young as you feel” has never been more true. Age is no longer determined solely by genetic factors, but by how well we live our lives: through exercise, diet and attitude. We’re not only living longer, we want to live better. It’s why we created Lifetime Daily.
As my friend and colleague Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, suggests successful aging is deeply tied to attitude. Don’t let your aches and pains slow you down and try to forget about today’s nonsensical obsession with youth. Eat well, move your body and stay exuberant. Remember, you have a whole lot of living to do and 68 is only a number.