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05/21/2014 11:02 am ET Updated May 21, 2014

Old Age Doesn't Start Until 80, Study Finds

Allison Michael Orenstein via Getty Images

Not too long ago a study revealed that most people define old age as 68. What a difference a few years make. This week a new study found that old age really doesn't begin until 80.

The study, commissioned by comparison website PayingTooMuch.com, asked 2,000 Britons over 40 what they considered old. The average answer -- 80 -- was nearly 20 years later than what previous generations might have responded. Those behind the study say the change in attitude is due in large part to delayed retirement, more active lifestyles, and a familiarity with octogenarians still successfully working.

For example, lots of very active celebrities -- including Regis Philbin, Angela Lansbury and Cloris Leachman -- have remained in the spotlight even as they've entered their 80s.

"There was a time when you were considered old or past it as soon as you retired, but this age has now got much later as we are leading healthier and more active lives well into our 70s," a spokesman for PayingTooMuch.com told the Daily Mail. "Pensioners are no longer seen as people who spend their days sat in their armchair knitting or watching black and white films in the afternoon before a little nap.

"For many, retirement is the start of a whole new chapter and pensioners are traveling the world, taking up new hobbies and in some cases, leading more active and exciting lifestyles than when they were younger," he said.

When it comes to retirement, only 11 percent of workers anticipated they'd work past 65 in 1991. By 2013, that percentage had drifted upwards to 36 percent.

The new survey also found that one in five Britons believe people can even hit 90 before being thought of as old. A whopping 93 percent say "you are only as old as you feel" with 82 percent noting they feel younger than their real age by an average of 11 years. Some 61 percent say they feel as though old age is still a long way off.

But other studies have uncovered different perceptions when it comes to age. For example, according to one study released in 2010, the average person believes youth ends at 35 and old age begins at 58. That means the years in between -- all 23 of them -- constitute middle age.

Ouch!

What do you think? What does old age really begin? Let us know your thoughts in comments.

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