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Old age varies depending on perspective

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 2 months ago

According to German researcher Markus Wettstein, PhD, the perception of when old age begins is a subjective matter that varies depending on individual experiences and societal influences. Wettstein and his team of researchers from the Humboldt University of Berlin analyzed data from over 14,000 German adults born in the 20th century and found that the perceived onset of old age has shifted later in life for individuals born later. However, this trend may not continue in the future due to a slowing increase in life expectancy, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The impact of digitization on changing perceptions of old age is also a significant factor. While late baby boomers and Gen Xers have benefited from technology in work, access, and health, younger generations such as millennials and Gen Z may face challenges due to social deprivation during key developmental years. Research suggests that increased feelings of loneliness and decreased happiness can accelerate aging, highlighting the importance of in-person social connections and family ties.

The study also revealed that individuals with more chronic diseases and poorer self-related health tend to perceive old age as beginning earlier. However, the concept of old age is evolving, with many individuals viewing it as a more individualized and fluid experience rather than a specific age threshold. Society's emphasis on youth and appearance, along with the increasing global aging population, are shaping attitudes towards aging.

Overall, the understanding of old age varies among individuals based on personal experiences, health status, and societal influences. The key takeaway is the importance of preparing for aging and appreciating every stage of life while taking care of oneself to increase the likelihood of aging well. As perceptions of old age continue to evolve, it is essential to acknowledge and adapt to the changing times and attitudes surrounding aging.

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