How old is really old?

Apparently, the answer depends on the age of the person responding to the question.

Intuitively, this makes sense. Take a moment and think back to when you were 15. How did you view a person who was 20? Now return to your current mindset. How do you view a person who is 5 years older than you today?

Well we now have research data to support the concept that age is relative.

The AARP recently conducted a survey on different generations’ views on aging and what exactly constitutes being old.

When Are You “Over the Hill?”

Possibly the most interesting generational finding came from the question that asks what age is “over the hill?” Millennials born between 1981 to 2000 consider 56 is old. Gen X born 1965 to 1980 say 62 and Baby Boomers, born 1946 to 1964, say that age 75 is officially when you are “over the hill.”

Don’t Forget This Finding

Traditionally, forgetfulness has been associated with aging. But the AARP study found that Millennials claim to forget things daily by 5 percent more than those reporting from the other 2 generations. Perhaps this is due to their hectic, fast-paced lives.

However, the 3 generations have a differing term for labeling exactly why they forget. Millennials call it forgetfulness or memory lapse. Gen Xers say they are having a brain freeze or brain overload. Baby Boomers report experiencing a senior moment.

What About Age Stereotypes?

Approximately 30 percent of those surveyed admitted to having made assumptions about people based solely on their age.

When it came to describing aging stereotypes, the most common generalizations focused on an older person’s poor driving ability, physical slowness, and stubborn view on things.

Younger people were most often accused of being too dependent on modern technology, appearing self-centered, and wanting everything immediately without earning it.

Despite beliefs to the contrary, for the most part, all age groups didn’t see themselves treated inappropriately or disrespectfully based on their age.

Interestingly the youngest respondents felt most victimized by age discrimination. The breakdown for experiencing perceived inappropriate treatment were Millennials, 17%; GenXers, 7%; and Baby Boomers, 13%.

How Are We All the Same Regardless of Age?

In the research, there were several beliefs and priorities that all the generational respondents agreed on. This included continuing to learn new skills regularly and feeling that aging is about living, not dying. All ages agreed that both experience and wisdom come with age.

They all claimed that the biggest limitations due to aging centered around physical abilities, fashion choices, and the ability to find a job. Thinking people are more likely to lie about their weight or their income than age.

Finally, There is That Great Equalizer

Not surprisingly, that would be sex.

While respondents in all age groups claimed they were engaging in sex several times a month, the vast majority would prefer to have it more often than they were.

Guess it all just goes to show that there is equality when it comes to what happens behind closed doors and drawn curtains. No matter what age we are, we’re more alike than we are different. Or at least that’s what we want people to think.

What age do you consider “old?” Do you agree that being considered “over the hill” is really a mindset that changes with age? Did you find it interesting that Boomers felt less inappropriate treatment based on age than Millennials?

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