Commenting on the new ONS publication 'Living longer: is age 70 the new age 65?', Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said:

“We welcome this new ONS analysis which reinforces our view at Independent Age that age is much more than just a number so it’s important to question our assumptions about ageing.

In fact the analysis challenges the assumption that once you hit 65 you are ‘older’. It suggests that our chronological age – how many ‘years old’ we are – doesn’t give the best indication of when ‘old age’ starts. Instead, it suggests the age at which we have 15 years of ‘remaining life expectancy’ would be better, reflecting the increases in life expectancy we have seen over the last few decades.

While it is a sign of real progress that people are generally living longer than in the past, we must not forget that many people spend too many of these ‘extra years’ in poor health. That means for some people the age at which they have 15 years of life remaining will be much younger than for others.

It is therefore essential that we invest in the NHS and public health programmes which prevent poor health and in the early diagnosis of life limiting conditions such as cancer which are more prevalent as we all age."

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