Old age is the golden age for Scots

Scots in their later years are relishing their 70s, with many planning to pursue new hobbies and interests rather than putting their feet up and relaxing according to a recent survey.

Research by the Royal Voluntary Service, released to launch GrandFest 2016, the one-day festival that celebrates older people and the skills they possess, revealed that one in five 60-69 year olds said they didn’t believe old age began for another 16-25 years until they reached at least 85 years old, with 14 per cent saying old age would be when they hit at least 90.

Not seeing themselves as ‘old’, 51 per cent had plans to learn or do something new in their seventieth decade with travelling to new countries (41%), getting fit (32%), volunteering (20%) and learning a practical skill (10%) among the most popular.

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Alison Steadman, actress said: “When I was 17 I remember thinking 35 was very old! How we change, grow and learn. Life is for living and to be 70 now seems exciting to me. I’ve grown in confidence over the years and learned that every day is precious. Every day brings something new and challenging. Go for it!”

Despite the negative image of ageing often portrayed, research by the charity identified how many Scots in their sixties were looking forward to hitting the big seven zero. Nearly a third said they were intending to embrace their impending 70s with 17 per cent saying they will feel proud to be in their seventies.

Inspirational older people are paving the way, nearly half (47%) said Helen Mirren is the most inspirational celebrity to turn 70 in 2015 while almost a quarter (23%) cited former BBC correspondent, Kate Adie.

And it seems those soon to be 70s are in good company as a host of household names known for their acting, writing, cooking, and dancing skills are celebrating their seventieth birthday in 2016.

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The illustrious 70@70 roll call includes singing great Dolly Parton, actresses Joanna Lumley, Helen Mirren and Alison Steadman, chef, Brian Turner, and politician Ken Livingstone.

David McCullough, chief executive of Royal Voluntary Service said: “Our roll call of 70 year olds will hopefully make people reassess their view of old age. Most of the people on our list are still working and are at the top of their profession. They are proof that later life is to be celebrated and that’s why we wanted to launch GrandFest, to give people an opportunity to learn from the country’s seasoned professionals, the Original Makers who have perfected their skills over a lifetime.”

GrandFest, taking place in London on June 5, is a one day festival created for the older generation to share craft skills such as knitting, crochet, wood turning and bread making through a series of master classes. Taking over museums, shops, cafes and bars in and around East London each masterclass will be led by a talented Original GrandMaker, aged 70 or over.