97% of the West Midlands’ over-60s say they feel younger at heart than their actual age. People over the age of 60 in the region feel 17 years younger than they actually are – or 50 years old – on average, according to a new survey by working animal charity, SPANA.

89% of retirees in the West Midlands surveyed said that they are enjoying their retirements, with travel and holidays seen as the most popular activity (10% of retirees even enjoy backpacking), followed by spending more time with family and friends. In addition, 96% of the West Midlands’ over-60s think that the current quality of life for their generation is better than that of their parents at the same age.

Despite enjoying retirement, the region’s pensioners do still lament the passing of their younger days. When asked what age they would like to be, 41 was the average age chosen by over-60s, while people’s 30s were rated as the best decade of their lives so far (chosen by 40% of retirees), primarily due to having been in good physical health and having children or a happy family life. Older people in the West Midlands don’t want their retirements to end any time soon however, with over-60s stating they would ideally like to live to the age of 89 on average.

The aim of the research is to highlight the hard lives endured by working animals in developing countries around the world, which never retire and work until their final days in most cases. Working animals, such as horses and donkeys, do the jobs of tractors, trucks and taxis and are relied upon by the world’s poorest people for their livelihoods, and sometimes their survival. However, like their owners, they are rarely able to rest in their older years.

Animal lover Deborah Meaden said: “Pensioners in the West Midlands are clearly enjoying their retirements and feel about 17 years younger than their actual ages. It’s fantastic that many people in this country can have a well-earned rest after their working lives. However, it’s important to remember that in many of the world’s poorest countries working animals are leading hard lives in difficult conditions and – like their owners – rarely get to enjoy the luxury of retirement. We’re asking everyone to support SPANA’s appeal to ensure older working animals get the veterinary treatment they need, preventing suffering after a lifetime of hard work.”

Younger people are far less optimistic about the future

In contrast to over-60s, the West Midlands’ under-60s are less optimistic about the future and their retirements, as well as their current situations. Only 40% of under-60s think that the quality of life for their generation is better than that of their parents’ generation at the same age.

While the vast majority of retirees in the West Midlands are enjoying their retirements, the majority of under-60s who are yet to retire have reservations about their lives beyond work, with only 69% stating that they are looking forward to their retirements. Almost half of under-60s (47%) said that they would choose to carry on working even if they were financially stable enough not to have to.

On average, people under the age of 60 in the West Midlands said they would like to live to the age of 86 years ideally and that they would like to retire when they are 57 years old, giving them almost 30 years of retired living. However, in reality, 13% of under-60s don’t think they will ever be able to retire and those that do have an expected retirement age think they will have to work until they are 66 on average.