Posted on Nov 25, 2019, 1 p.m.
The Office for National Statistics recently released a report stating that the onset of old age now starts five years later at the age of 70 rather than 65; this could signal significant implications for future health and social care as well an increased interest for investment into anti-aging and longevity research and development.
Traditionally hitting 65 rang in the Golden Years and it was used to herald in the start of old age in the UK and some other countries, reaching this landmark age is also the official retirement age and when people can start to claim their old age pension in some countries as well.
The Office for National Statistics now suggests that 65 is an outdated figure which does not reflect today’s current state of health and well being, which is now longer for many people. This report on the state of aging within the UK closely follows suggestions from Professor Andrew Scott who was part of the speakers at the 2019 Longevity Forum, and has called for a change of mindset about the aging process rather than outdated “concepts such as old being 65 or greater.”
70 being the new 65 could have far reaching implications about how we measure age as well as attitudes towards aging and planning for the future of health and social care needs. Japan is an aging society, the Deputy Director of the Healthcare Industries Division Mr. Otani Soshi commented : “We need to redesign the system. If we allowed citizens to work an extra 10 years between the ages of 65 and 75 we could rebalance the social security system to what it was 15 years ago.”
This report calls for aging not to be measured in how many years a person has already lived, rather by how many more years they could have left to live. It refers to a woman at the age of 65 could still have a quarter of her life to live, and men could still have a fifth; the report offers the suggestion that age should be measured by Fixed Remaining Life Expectancy with an RLE of 15 years signally the start of old age.
Living longer is fantastic, but it is not enough just to be living longer; the researchers found that the UK population is reporting better general health at a later age which indicates the extension is not just in lifespan but it is also extending healthspan as well; this increase in both is what anti-aging is all about.
Senescence is the subject of many conversations and recent research, but this report did not go into the subject; this occurs when cells can no longer replicate, rather than dividing they stop growing and sometimes don’t die off off to be cleared away remaining to accumulate to cause damage around them contributing to aging and related diseases.
The Office for National Statistics did stress the datasets used were small, “Given changes in remaining life expectancy over time, age 70 can be thought of as the new age 65; initially 70 also appears to be the new 65 (or even younger) in terms of health.”
This report could be potentially influencing and drive further investment in future healthcare, research, and development for an older population, who may now no longer simply be written off when the reach the age of 65 and still have much to contribute to society.
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