Fulfilled living in later life
Research confirms it – 70 really IS the new 60

Monday 8th July 2024

Research confirms it – 70 really IS the new 60

Louise Morse

A couple of years ago the Office for National Statistics said that today, 70 is the new 60. People were staying healthier for longer, the statisticians said, which meant that today’s septuagenarians are up to a decade ‘younger’ in physical and mental terms than previous generations. This has been confirmed by a large study, published in the journal Research Square, of research at New York'ss Columbia University, that concluded that people being more useful ‘has positive implications for all of us, both as individuals and for society more broadly’. Another benefit, perhaps, is having the wisdom of a 70-year-old with the energy of a 60-year-old to apply it.

Researchers analysed years of data that had been collected on nearly 15,000 over-60s in England covering both physical health – such as walking speed, sleep, breathing capacity, grip strength, hearing, vision and balance – and mental capacity, including memory, recall and psychological health. The researchers said that today’s 70 roles have the equivalent functioning to substantially younger adults in previous generations.

They found that the changes were happening quickly, with someone born in 1950 being as fit at 68 as someone born in 1940 was at 62. The improvement in cognition, was even more substantial.

The team said that better public healthcare and greater awareness and treatment of life limiting conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes had a role in the improvements, along with healthier living such as a decline in smoking, better diets, improved living conditions and other environmental improvements over the last century.

Author and analyst, Eric Barker, writes on four secrets of a long, happy life. The main secret is to stay healthy, he said. ‘That’s it. Seriously. As long as people in older demographics stay healthy, their happiness, on average, increases. Research shows with age we become more agreeable and more conscientious. Folks in their 60’s score 69% higher on emotional stability assessments than people in their twenties. But it’s going to take a little effort.

‘Aging is like finding out your free trial of youth has expired, and now all the premium features are locked behind a paywall of proactively doing things to stay healthy.’

He quotes from experts and writes engagingly, and with humour. It’s worth clicking here and having a good read!

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