2 Jan 2012

How old is old?

6:20 am on 2 January 2012

With 40 billed as the new 30 and baby boomers redefining the perceptions of aging, how old is old?

The answer, it seems, depends on the age of the person being asked, according to a new survey of Americans, Reuters reports.

For Millennials - people born in the 1980s and 1990s - 62 is considered old, but Generations Xers, whose birth year fell between 1964 to 1970, do not think anyone is old until they reach 71, the Marist poll showed.

Baby boomers suggest old is a description that fits seniors 77 and older and members of the Greatest Generation, who lived through World War Two, do not think it is applicable description until 81 years old.

"Everybody has a different opinion about what being old is, where old age starts," said Roger Baumgart, the chief executive of Home Instead Senior Care, which commissioned the telephone poll of 1235 Americans across the country.

"There is a 19-year disparity between what the Millennials and the Greatest Generation think is old age," he added." As you age, your perception of aging is going to change."

Although the range for what is considered old was nearly two decades, the age to which each group wanted to live was more consistent at 89 to 92 years old.

Despite thinking 62 was old, Millennials said they would like to reach their 90th birthday.

The poll also revealed a difference in age perception between the sexes, with women pushing the boundaries further than men.

Women do not think they or men are old until 75 and 74, respectively. But for men, it drops to 70 for themselves and 69 for women.