Middle Age Comes Much Later for the British

October 22, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. middle age (n.) 
[mid-l][eyj] – a period of time when a person is not considered a child anymore, but is also not yet considered old
Example: When people enter middle age, their hair starts to become gray and they may also start gaining weight.

2. respondent (n.) [ri-spon-duhnt] – person answering a survey or question
Example: The interviewer asked 30 respondents the same questions.

3. life span (n.) [lahyf][span] – the length of time between a person’s or animal’s birth and death
Example: The average life span of a human being today is 67.2 years.

4. state of mind (expr.) [steyt][uhv, ov][mahynd] – the condition of one’s mind at a specific time
Example: Doctors say our state of mind is affected by sleep and physical exercise.

5. turn (v.) [turn] – to reach a certain age
Example: She turned 40 years old on her birthday.

Read the text below.

Recent research suggests that the British think middle age starts at 55 and ends at 69. Previously, middle age was thought to start at 36 years old.

Love to Learn, a UK adult learning website, asked 1,000 people aged 50 years old and above to complete an online survey.

Seventy percent of the survey respondents in their early 50s classified themselves as middle-aged while twenty percent believed middle age started only after 60 years old.  In the past, a 60 year old would be considered old.

These findings point to an aging population. At the moment, there are more elderly people than children in the UK. Because more people now have longer life spans, the concept of middle age has changed.

Nowadays, people in their middle ages have more active minds and act much younger than older people generations before. For 19% of the surveyed respondents, middle age is more of a state of mind rather than something that begins at a specific age.  

More than half of the research participants in their 50s felt good about their age. They claimed to feel more confident, more experienced, and less afraid of committing mistakes.

In another similar survey done by Age UK, it was found that Europeans believe that old age starts at 62; however, views on middle age vary from country to country. In Sweden, people believe middle age begins at the age of 34. In Greece, it starts when a person turns 52.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that being old is a state of mind? Why or why not?
·         What do you think are some of the reasons why people nowadays generally have longer life span?

Discussion B

·         What are some benefits of getting older?
·         What things about yourself have changed for the better as you grew older?


October 22, 2012