Taking an age

We don’t get officially old until we reach 80 new research has revealed – 20 years later than previous generations believe.

It is thought healthier and more active lifestyles, working later in life and more public awareness of the elderly and their needs have led to the dramatic increase and older people staying younger for longer.

More than one in five Brits even believe you can reach 90 before you are considered old.

The study of 2,000 over-40s found falling asleep while watching TV or reading the paper, becoming forgetful and groaning when you get out of bed show you are getting old.

Saying “back in my day”, choosing comfort over style and having an afternoon nap also feature in the top ten.

A spokesman for PayingTooMuch.com, a comparison website who commissioned the research, said: “Perceptions of old age have changed a lot over the last few years.

“There was a time when you were considered old or past it as soon as you retired, but this age has now got much later as we are leading healthier and more active lives well into our 70s.

“Pensioners are no longer seen as people who spend their days sat in their armchair knitting or watching black and white films in the afternoon before a little nap.

“For many, retirement is the start of a whole new chapter and pensioners are travelling the world, taking up new hobbies and in some cases, leading more active and exciting lifestyles than when they were younger.

“As well as this, people are working later in life than ever before and even if they don’t feel particularly young or fit, it adds to the illusion that they are still young.

“But while you might not be ‘old’ until much later in life now, it’s important not to put off decisions regarding retirement or later years such as life insurance, wills or pensions.

“Old age might seem far off for most, but it’s better to be prepared now than regret not doing something later on.”

A huge 85 per cent put the change down to people living longer, while almost two thirds think it is due to pensioners leading more active lifestyles.

Other reasons include working until later in life, eating and being healthier, and people being more independent later in life.

Almost one in five even believe it is because of the number of celebrities and famous figures, such as Queen Elizabeth and Bruce Forsyth – who are both well into their eighties – still working and in the spotlight.