Below is an extract of a recent article written by Amelia Hill for The Guardian. The full story can be read here.
Traditional views of retirement are being swept away. In a new series, we consider what that means for the retirees of today – and those of the future.
Dr David Davies sees more than his fair share of sixtysomethings. His clinic is situated in the west Somerset medieval village of Dunster, which has one of the densest populations of older people anywhere in Britain.
But these days, sexagenarians don’t shuffle in looking sorry for themselves. Instead, he says, they are more likely to appear clad in lycra having cycled to their appointment across Exmoor national park.
“They come to see me for unspecified aches and pains which, because they are so fit and think of themselves as young, they think must be caused by something really serious,” he says. “It generally takes at least three appointments before they can begin to even consider that their bodies might just be ageing – and then their reaction is one of absolute horror.
The new retirement
In this nine-part, weekly series, Amelia Hill is investigating the dramatic ageing of Britain, and the implications for work, retirement and wellbeing. Life expectancy is growing by five hours a day, bringing huge challenges – and opportunities – and forcing us to rethink the way we live, love and work. We are keen to hear from readers about what ageing and retirement means for you and your family. Whatever your stage of life, help us explore this rapid period of social change which is forcing us to restructure and rethink our professional and private lives; our relationships with parents, children and grandchildren; and the UK’s finances, transport, health system and housing.
Why are we covering this story?
“People up to their late 60s nowadays really struggle with the fact that the ageing process is starting to affect them. It’s partly that people live so long and partly that we’ve picked up the idea that we can defeat the ageing process more or less entirely, thanks to a combination of medical advances and individual, personal care.”
Like some of its rich-world peers, Britain has entered the age of the aged. And, over the next two months, the Guardian will be exploring what that means in a series of weekly articles. The visit to Dr Davies’ surgery is the beginning of what is intended to be a collaborative reporting project in which we tackle the issues prompted by the sweeping away of a traditional approach to old age by a generation of vigorous retirees.
By 2040, nearly one in seven Britons will be over 75, according to a report by the Resolution foundation thinktank published today, which also reveals that almost a third of people born today can expect to live to 100. In 2014, the average age in the UK exceeded 40 for the first time.
As the baby boomer generation enter retirement, we also reach a dramatic demographic turning point: 2017 will see the ratio of non-workers to workers start to rise for the first time since the early 1980s.
Our vastly improved life expectancy, which is growing by five hours a day, was one of the great triumphs of the last century. It is now, however, the source of the greatest challenges – and opportunities – of this era.
To read more click here.