Speed up time, please – many South Africans want to get old
The best things about becoming old is less stress, more family time and giving up work, a global study finds
A “great deal” of South Africans are looking forward to old age, a new global study on the future of ageing has found.
While the Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute’s global research found high levels of concern about ageing, 56% of South Africans said they were eager to grow old.
Over 20,700 people aged between 16 and 64 in 30 countries were interviewed.
The results showed: Thirty-six percent said the best thing about getting old was having more time to spend with family and friends.
Seventeen percent were looking forward to having “less stress” while 14% were eager to become wiser.
Twenty-six percent said the best things about getting old was giving up work. Ipsos MORI director Suzanne Hall said despite the general negativity towards ageing, there were many reasons for the optimism.
“More people globally have faith in the power of technology to improve the lives of the elderly. People also tend to think that there are things that they can do to ensure they are prepared for old age – though there is a gap between what we know we should be doing and what we are doing in practice.”
“Later life should be our golden years – but there is clearly much work to be done for this time in our life to be seen as such,” she said.
The worst aspects of getting old were not having enough money to live on, losing one’s memory and losing mobility.
Sixteen percent were worried about dying, while 6% were afraid of becoming a target for criminals.
“There are tremendous opportunities that come from longer lives, yet just one in three people worldwide say they are looking forward to their old age. This is perhaps not surprising given the prevailing narrative across the globe is one of decline, frailty, ill health and loneliness.
“These negative experiences are not inevitable. We must improve our workplaces, our housing, our health and our communities to enable more of us to age well. Changing our own and society’s attitudes to later life is an essential first step,” Hall said.
According to the study, 62 is considered old in SA, while in Spain and Saudi Arabia 74 and 55 are old, respectively.
The global consensus is that 66 is the age when one can be considered old.
The study’s other findings include: Fifty-six percent of South Africans have friends who are 15 years older than them.
Almost 60% of South Africans believe technology will make ageing easier.
Almost 64% of South Africans said they expected to be fit and healthy in old age.
More than 60% of South Africans believe the young should take care of the old.