The government has tried to answer the age old question about when youth, middle age and old age start and end.
The last is easy to answer, as presumably old age ends with someone’s life, but responses to the other questions is less clear and very much depends on – wait for it… how old you are.
The Department of Work and Pensions is looking at attitudes to age – and concludes age discrimination is ‘deep rooted’ in society.
The report comes hot on the heels of similar research by the European Union as governments across the EU look at way to try and fund retirement for a population with more older people living for longer.
The survey Attitudes to Age in Britain revealed on average, old age starts at 59 in Britain, while youth ends at 41.
The figure ranges from those aged 25 or under believing youth ends at 32 and old age begins at 54, while those over over 80 believe that youth ends at 52 while old age starts at 68.
Pensions minister Steve Webb is urging everyone to change their attitude to aging.
“The idea that we are ‘old’ at 59 belongs in the era of Downton Abbey – not in 2012,” he said.
“People are living longer, working longer and contributing more in their later lives. This is great news and it is important that our perceptions of age keep up with the reality of our increasing longevity.”
The survey findings showed one in three people experienced some form age discrimination in the past year.
One in seven people feel working for a boss in their 70s is “unacceptable”, while just one in 20 felt the same about a boss in their 30s.
The DWP said that an ageing population presents a number of challenges to society, especially social exclusion, that leaves older people feeling “isolated and excluded from opportunities”.