Home » News » Aging May Be More Than Just Years

Aging May Be More Than Just Years

Aging May Be More Than Just YearsWe have all heard the phrase that you are only has old as you feel and that the new 45 is really the old 35 and so forth.

A new study gives new life to the expressions by introducing a new method to monitoring aging in a population — an approach that uses a variety of factors in association with chronological age.

The groundbreaking study provides a new toolbox of methodologies for demographers to better understand the impacts of an aging population on society.

Previously, studies of aging used only one characteristic of people, their chronological age.

The new study provides a framework for measuring aging based instead on characteristics of people that change with age, including life expectancy, health, cognitive function and other measures.

These measures can be used by demographers to better understanding aging societies.

“Your true age is not just the number of years you have lived,” said researcher Sergei Scherbov, Ph.D., of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. It also includes characteristics such as health, cognitive function, and disability rates.

Demographers have not traditionally used such measures in studies of population and society, instead using age as a proxy for those characteristics.

But as lifespans get longer, the same age no longer correlates with the same level of health and other such characteristics.

“We used to consider people old at age 65,” said Scherbov.

“Today, someone who is 65 may be more like someone who was 55 forty-fifty years ago in terms of many important aspects of their lives.”

The authors show that policy recommendations with respect to aging differ depending on exactly which characteristics of people are measured.

“For different purposes we need different measures. Aging is multidimensional,” said Scherbov.

By reconceptualizing population aging to incorporate how people actually function, the study seeks to provide the foundation of a much richer and more realistic view of population aging.

Source: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Representation of man a aging photo by shutterstock.

Aging May Be More Than Just Years

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Aging May Be More Than Just Years. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.