Survey: older people feel younger

Steve Carlton  |  August 2, 2013

Most people have heard the saying, "You're only as old as you feel." A recent survey by market research firm Kantar seems to suggest that age really is all in the mind - at least, according to the older people who participated in the poll.

Changing attitudes

One of the key findings of the survey was that many older people don't feel their age, and instead think of themselves as being younger than they actually are. Although this phenomenon isn't limited to older individuals, the proportion of respondents who indicated they felt this way was significantly higher among older respondents. Approximately 41% of participants aged 65 and over said they didn't feel their age.

Perceptions of age are also changing. Only 11 percent of people polled said they thought being 60 made someone "old," and many older celebrities are admired by the general public. Helen Mirren, Bruce Forsyth, Judi Dench, the Queen and Sean Connery were among the older celebrities whom they most admired.

Growing old gracefully

In terms of which types of older people respondents most respected, those who age gracefully topped the list, with 35% of participants indicating that welcoming older age naturally was an admirable quality. People who fully embraced life and made their retirement years look fun and exciting were also viewed favourably, with an additional 27% of individuals polled indicating this was a positive attribute for older people to possess.

In contrast, only 4% of respondents said they thought people who tried everything to resist the ageing process and make themselves appear younger were role models.

"Many in this older cohort are liberated from their family and social obligations for the first time, and have both the economic freedom and time to explore new hobbies and interests," said Lee Manning-Craik, a director at Added Value, the Kantar company that conducted the survey. "It's why we refer to them as 'The Unstoppables'."

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