Old Age

Of my nearly four hundred readers I know there are all ages. While this post is about old age, please read on even if you are young. I’d like to hear from all demographics.

At what age are you old?

I’ve heard that 70 is the new 50. I’m not sure what that means but I believe it refers to a change in the way people think of old age. I remember many years ago when Medicare started to cover heart transplants they would only pay if the recipient was 55 or younger. After a while, it was determined that this was unfair because the rule was based upon chronological not biological age. Some people at sixty or seventy were actually younger and more likely to have a good outcome than other people at fifty. The rule changed.

I think this is a good example of the dilemma we face when defining old age. I recently read an article about a man who drove a red Mercedes convertible around his community in Florida. He often took his fiancée along on these drives. Does this make you think of an old person? Probably not. What if I told you he uses a walker? Does that signify that he is old? Perhaps, but the fact is that this man is 107 years old and his fiancée is 100!

What do you call old people?

This has become an important question and there are polls which indicate there is little agreement on a suitable moniker. Let’s look at a few choices. How about “retiree?” Some people have never had a job to retire from such as Moms who worked at home their entire lives. Thanks to changing Social Security rules people no longer retire at sixty-five as they were apt to do in the past. Many people are very healthy and active after retirement, are they old?

“Older?” Older than who? “Senior?” Isn’t that a person ready to graduate high school? “Aging?” Aren’t we all from infancy?

“Elder?” “Sage?” “Mature?” “Perennial?” You can see the problem with each of these so what do we call old people? One term I read about that has potential is “Super Adult!”

So that we don’t go through our golden years without a suitable title academics have come up with some terms used in research and publications. Some use “Young old” (60s & 70s) and old old (85 and up). The most formal are “third age” (retirement) and “fourth age” (infirmity) and I do find these more accurate.

Please tell me your opinion regarding which of these terms is most suitable for those of us who are definitely not young.


Photos by Pixabay


8 thoughts on “Old Age

  1. I prefer “seasoned”. Although, we are not perfect, we have hopefully acquired wisdom. I remember my parents siblings dying in their 50s and because of their apparel like my Aunts with dresses and black boot-like shoes, hair color etc, we thought they were really old. Now, having passed them by a couple of decades, I realize they were young. Some of our longer living has to do with advances in medicine. While former routine type surgeries used to require days in a hospital, thanks to advances in technology, medication, days are fewer, and many in/out on the same day. Unsure if 60/70 is the new 50, but I see many older people out and about. Yesterday when my son was at the Oral Surgeon 5 of the 6 patients who came in were my age or older, and each drove themselves there. Some walked more slowly than others, yet all seemed mentally alert.
    Some of my older siblings are either immobile or partially immobile, yet they are mentally alert, and so that might be another key to increased life expectancy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I suppose everyone has their ideas, and maybe the person they are looking at influences how they gauge OLD. I don’t have a set “best before date.” Physical condition plays into aging. I feel “older” while a lot of people at 66 will say they are in their prime. But having battled leukemia, lived with the results of chemo, and deal every day with arthritis, plus I forget things or have a bout of confusion so often, I just don’t feel so young and spry. My cousin at age 80 would still go out for the occasional evening of dancing.

    Still, I think there is a point to “age-appropriate behaviour.” I’ve read stories where the author couldn’t be over forty just by the way she portrays seniors. In one of these the 62-year-old widow was roller blading down the street — trying to prove that 62 is the new 28. Her new beau had a heart attack trying to keep up. If you’ve lost one spouse, are you going to force someone to risk their health? Seniors may be spry or not, but the common sense that comes from a lifetime of living is worth a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t know if I can reply to this email, but trying anyway. Saw your article about Janet Essig and asked her if we could include it in the next newsletter. She agreed. Crooked Creek is written by Sue Mattingly, right?

    Rosemary Smith

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One thing I learned while blogging is that a lot of us are old. We have free time and we enjoy and benefit from the challenge and from the interaction. In this narrow branch of social media we are ahead of the curve.

    Liked by 1 person

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