Not a long time ago, retirement was a conquest of the middle and lower classes. Exhausting manual work, low income exhausted the energies of the workers/employees and 65 was a dream age. Time goes by and at 65, many people don’t wish to retire, very reasonable as they are likely to be at the best of their performance.
Economy, education, politics and the man in the street debate how and when men and women must move from the active sector of society to retirement, how serious is the impact of large numbers of “old” on the health system, what to do with the “riches” of the elderly, and so on.
Debates that are unfortunately conducted on a poor foundation. The concept of “old or aged” is, at least in the western societies, outdated.
These concepts were based on the anagraphic age of a person, a reasonable way to define the age of a person to group human beings born within a given period of time, see the “baby boomers”, the “war kids”, etc..
But the change in our behavior , style, better health care and social conditions have made the use of the anagraphic age as the reason for retirement , health and social treatment, physical activities etc. misleading and dangerous.
Simply group a person with people born at the same time means nothing. when 85 years “old” are more physically fit than 20 years “young”, when 105 years old ladies participate to javelin throwing competitions, when 80-90 years old are better qualified to run Countries than a 30 year old member of parliament.
Continuing to use “year of birth” to project future needs for services is dangerous and misleading.
The projection is based on the past, when people in their 20-40s were generally healthy, in their 60s began to deteriorate and kindly died in their seventies.
Now we are dealing with 20-40 years old who are in worse physical and mental state than those in their 70-80s.
We simply cannot afford to put to rest productive individuals with an important cost and deprive the young to benefit from the experience of the seniors. The structure of our society requires to abandon the anagraphic selection system and introduce what we can call our “performance age”.
So to worry about how to cope with the cost of the health of the seniors is misleading, most of them are in better shape than many of the young, debilitated by stress, drugs, etc.
We have millions of “kids” unable to find jobs, in the professions and in the trades, not due to incapacity, but because of the low quality of their education.
We are in a different world and must put an end to policies that prevent or destroy the conservation and transfer of knowledge when our society needs knowledge more than ever before.
Anagraphic age is out, let us embrace “performance age”, save a lot of money, give the young the support they deserve and allow the senior to continue producing if they so wish.