Some gloomy attitudes emerge from a recent global ageing study.
Some gloomy attitudes emerge from a recent global ageing study.

Worldwide attitudes reveal ageing concerns

A NEW study taking in feedback from people in 30 countries shows there is plenty of worry about the journey through ageing and how it will impact on communities.

Ipsos MORI's new global The Future of Ageing study, which was conducted in partnership with the UK's Centre for Ageing Better, collected data from 20,788 online interviews with adults aged from mid-teens to mid-60s.

Overall the results show people are thinking about what old age will be like for them. Only those in South Korea expressed little concern, with one in six (16%) agreeing that they worry about old age.

Only one in three of those interviewed are looking forward to old age. Some 67 per cent of Australians interviewed aren't looking forward to ageing.

At what age are we 'old'? At 66, the report data shows.

"The biggest determinant of what someone thinks of as being old is their own age; the older people get, the more likely they are to define 'old' as being something that happens later in life," the Ipsos MORI report states.

But at least being considered old means being wise (35%) and respected (23%). Although 32 per cent said it means being frail and lonely (30%).

The downsides to ageing are seen as not having enough to live on (30%) with a quarter worrying about losing mobility (26%) and losing memory (24%).

The upside is the majority expect to be fit and healthy in old age (57%).

Three in five (60%) agree that people don't respect old people as much as they should.

It seems the media have their work cut out in doing a better job about how they depict older people. Three in 10  (31%) think that television, film and advertising make old age seem exciting and full of potential while roughly the same proportion (29%) think the media make old age seem depressing, with limited opportunities.

There is a perception across 29 per cent of the interviewees that older people have too much influence politically, while another 35 per cent disagree.  This is one report outcome that would likely make for a lively discussion among Australian Seniors.

The study found over half the interviewees are "techno-optimists". They think that technology will help improve the quality of an ageing life. Interestingly, it was people in Japan, France and Belgium who indicated they were least convinced that this is the case.

Are we ready to age? "Globally, people have a clear idea of what we should be doing to prepare for later life," the report states.

"The most commonly mentioned responses are staying healthy by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet (60% and 59% respectively). Saving enough money for an adequate pension is mentioned by half (51%) and avoiding smoking, having a good circle of friends, and having a sport or hobby they practice regularly are cited by over two in five (45%, 44% and 44% respectively)."

But the data showed there is a gap between what we know we should do to prepare for old age, and what we are doing.

When asked what people are doing, the most popular answer globally is avoiding smoking - mentioned by over 45 per cent.

"A similar proportion also mention eating a healthy diet and avoiding too much alcohol (43% and 40% respectively). Under three in 10 (28%) mention saving enough money for an adequate pension," the report concludes.

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