“Middle-age begins at 60, say researchers”. That’s what a recent Times headline claimed.

Sadly, the research the report was based on said no such thing. Nor did it back up the Daily Telegraph’s headline, “baby boomers refuse to grow old”. Instead, the study argues that people should be seen as old when they are in their last 10-15 years of life based on average life expectancy, rather than when they reach 65. In the UK this is currently around 79 years for men and 82 for women. (Expectations that it will keep rising have been recently dented.)

Does this matter? Read More →

What do you call very old people?

“Real Seniors” was the choice in a recent BBC poll of over-85s. Although as the other options were “Long Lived”, “Wisdom Warriors”, “The Very Oldies” and “The Venerables”,  it wasn’t much of a choice.

The argument is that we have to distinguish the very old from the merely old because they have different social and health needs. But does categorising people by age really tell us anything? Read More →