There are no more old people than once, or rather, there are, but they are no longer the same age. It is a fact and it is enough to look around us to realize it, the psychophysical and even mental situation of many of us, in good health, is different from our peers even a few decades ago. When you get older therefore? Good question that they tried to answer at the 63rd National Congress of the SIGG (Italian Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics) which was held in Rome at the end of November 2018.
When one becomes elderly, that is, there are no more elderly people than once
We are therefore not screaming the news but, coldly, we face it to better understand what it means to age today and how it is possible to do it better. First of all it is therefore important to have an idea of when you can be defined as elderly and why. TO 65 years old, an age that was once referred to as the onset of old age, many people are in perfect shape. I have friends who do marathons, walk, go to the mountains, travel the world without particular limitations and I assure you that they are not unconscious. Simply medicine and, more generally, scientific progress helped them age better and therefore to find themselves in shape at this age.
Since I'm not talking about exceptions - and I'm sure you also have some examples of what I'm describing in mind - the MR has chosen to question what was a stainless certainty until last year, to adapt to the reality of 2020.
It is necessary to adapt the definition of seniority and to shift the reference age up to that of 75 years old, age that so far coincides with physical and mental performance that we can still consider "as old". One day, who knows, maybe in about thirty years we will have to see again and move the “picket” for another 10 or 20 years. So goodbye to the number decided by Otto Von Bismarck, after two centuries we are all a little younger or further away on the threshold that transforms us into an "agé".
When you become elderly and mortality
So far we have talked about improved physical and mental conditionsbut that's not the only thing that happened. Another fact, perhaps even more concrete and unassailable, recorded in recent years, was the average lengthening of the life expectancy at birth. Specifically in Italy it has reached 85 years for women and 82 for men. It is the national average but if we go to some specific regions, see Liguria and Sardinia, two at random, the numbers change a lot and for the better.
Old age would take up too many years of our life, officially, so it is better to move it, or to redefine it by introducing two "topologies" of people over the years. Those belonging to the third age, between 65 and 75 years old, still in good health, able to be considered a resource at both work and social level, and those over 75, who often suffer a visible and inevitable physical decay that makes them dependent on machines, medicines, other people such as carers, children, life companions. After 99 years we should move to a third category, that of the centenarians, still not very numerous but ... we'll talk about it in about ten years!
When you become old and when you feel old
So far have we touched on the psychological side of it, or when do you start to feel old? It is clear that everyone has their own sensitivity and their own history so we can rely on statistics to get an idea. According to a survey presented to the London School of Economics, conducted by interviewing over 12 thousand over 65s in different countries, two over 65 Italians out of three declare that they do not feel "elderly" at all. Four out of ten think that old age really begins only after the age of eighty. Everyone can get his or her own idea but I doubt that it is a mass of people who utopistically think that they have not aged and that they should never get old.
Simply a good state of health conditions our mind and we perceive ourselves further away from death, more able to live at 100%, less dependent on treatments, drugs, people who can take care of us.
Without becoming too anxious, it is good to prepare to face this shift of old age in order not to overdo it and not letting go and not assuming that until 75 years we will be young and snappy. We have to think about it much earlier to make it happen this way. Also on a mental level: let's keep mentally and physically active, cultivate our interests, take the measure with our new limits so as not to become pathetic.
It is necessary to find one's own balance, personalized, with respect to our precise physical and mental situation, so as not to lead to "youthfulness" but not even to the so-called "Ageism", resignation in the face of advancing age.