March 18, 2010

UK: How old is too old?

. SYDNEY, NSW / The Sydney Morning Herald / Life & Style / Reuters / March 18, 2010 Prime of her life ... Kathryn Bigelow, 58, is far from elderly but for many Brits old age starts at 58. Kathryn Bigelow is a first-time Oscar winner at the age of 58 but according to most British people she's over the hill. Many may beg to differ but a new survey show that the average Briton believes youth ends at 36 and old age starts at 58. The good news for those feeling a little long in the tooth though is that those two landmarks vary considerably according to the age of the beholder. The findings come from the European Social Survey, which took in 21 European countries and more than 40,000 respondents. In general, men regarded the end of youth and start of old age to begin two years earlier than women did. There were also large differences between European countries. Youth was perceived to end earliest in Nordic countries such as Norway (34) compared to countries like Cyprus, where the average perception is that you stop being young at 52 and start being old at 67. "The survey showed that age prejudice - being treated as 'too young' or 'too old' - is perceived to be a serious or very serious issue by 63 per cent of respondents so it is obviously important to know what these age labels mean to people," said Professor Dominic Abrams of the University of Kent, who conducted the research. [rc] Copyright © 2010. Fairfax Digital