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Here’s how long a happy long life is

health and fitness Updated: Aug 22, 2012 18:32 IST
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More than half of people from Britain think that anything beyond the age of 83 is a ‘bonus’, a new study has found.

Six out of ten said they would rather die than be left alone in old age or be a burden due to illness.

Remarkably, one in six would be happy just to reach the age of 70, while only a quarter want to live to the grand old age of 100.

The study of 2,000 participants by healthcare group Benenden also found seven in ten think the way they live their life will have a severe impact on them in old age.

Lack of exercise was a big worry, while four in 10 think their diet will cause problems and a quarter expect to pay later in life for the amount of alcohol they drink.

Two thirds don’t think the elderly are treated well in the UK and 70 percent thought old age was less appealing due to the cost of care.

“The UK has an ageing population and successive generations are getting larger. This means that the issue of care for the elderly is a real ticking time-bomb as public funding for care becomes increasingly restricted,” the Daily Mail quoted Nick Breton, Head of Research for Benenden, as saying.

“It’s perhaps no surprise then to see that most of us would rather pass away before becoming a burden on others, which is a sad state of affairs.

“Attitudes to health and wellbeing in the elderly are changing and we’re seeing improved approaches to maintaining fitness well into later life.

“Of course, a huge range of factors can influence longevity of life and we can’t always prevent the unexpected. But giving yourself a good base in your approach to health and wellbeing can help towards ensuring a ‘good innings’,” he said.

Getting married and having children and grandchildren were the obvious milestones of any life; however they deemed ‘being respected’ as the most important thing to achieve in the time we have.

Many thought a life well lived meant travelling to at least five countries, while one in four people think a good innings isn’t complete without making some really big mistakes along the way.

While early eighties is the age most would want to bow out at, the average person from Britain reckons they will only make it to 75.

An adamant six in ten people stated they would rather go before their health or mobility deteriorated too seriously.

However, there are perks to old age and people from Britain are looking forward to not having to worry about what’s ‘cool’ or what other people think of them the most.

While being more relaxed about their own image and body weight, skipping queues and being able to get out of things by saying “I’m tired” were other common plusses.

But they aren’t letting the worry take over - four in ten say it’s all out of their hands and the important thing is to enjoy it.

“It’s good to see that 4-in-10 have a ‘c’est la vie’ approach to life and will enjoy themselves no matter what. A fifth are also making those important decisions which will make old age more manageable,” Breton said.

“We are, however, seeing worries around exercise, diet and consumption of alcohol and the impact they could potentially have on longevity.

“83 years of age is above the national average for both men and women, so giving yourself the best opportunity of achieving a good innings can be kick-started with an improved approach to maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” he added.