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Latest study reveals what Brits consider to be a 'good innings' in life

22nd August 2012

The average Brit wants to live until the age of 83, Benenden Healthcare’s latest study revealed yesterday.

The report found the majority of us would be grateful to reach our early eighties, with any time after that being hailed as ‘a bonus’.

The study also found most of us would rather pass away long before we become a burden on our families due to illness or a lack of physical mobility.

Remarkably, one in six Brits 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 research, commissioned by leading health and wellbeing mutual organisation  Benenden Healthcare Society, found Brits consider anyone who reaches the age of 81 to have had a ‘good innings’.

Yesterday Nick Breton, Head of Research for Benenden Healthcare said: “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.

“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’.”

Getting married and having children and grandchildren were the obvious milestones of any life; however Brits 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 Brit reckons they will only make it to 75. And seven in ten Brits think the way they live their life today will have severe impacts on them in old age. Lack of exercise was given as the biggest worry, while four in ten think their diet will cause them problems and a quarter expect to pay later in life for the amount of alcohol they drink currently.

More than half the study consider any time over 83 a big bonus, while one in four confessed they’d be worried about either burdening their family or being left alone. And an adamant six in ten people stated they would rather go before their health or mobility deteriorated too seriously.

While two thirds of people don’t think the elderly are treated well in this country, a massive 70 per cent of the study says living to an older age is less appealing due to the current financial climate and cost of care.

But there are perks to old age and Brits 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 Brits 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 while a similar number think there’s truth in the saying ‘live every day like your last.’

And a fifth of Brits say they make careful decisions now in order to set themselves up well for old age. Nick Breton continued: “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.

“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.”

 

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