How old is old?
Depending on who you ask you may get very different answers. A woman who once worked for me was an energetic 83, as a volunteer at the local senior center she would often refer to the people there as old. I asked her one time how old is old and she said, " anyone older than me." In his recent article for the New York Times
the definition of “old” is changing, as life spans have grown longer. “Someone who is 60 years old today is middle-aged,” said Sergei Scherbov, the lead researcher of a multiyear study on aging. When does old begin? I asked.
Dr. Scherbov says for Americans, it’s roughly 70 to 71 for men and 73 to 74 for women, though, as he has written, “your true age is not just the number of years you have lived.” There are so many factors: genetics, education, fitness, nutrition, access to health care etc.
For most people defining when old age begins has to do with decline physical, mental, and or psychological. Not just an accumulation of years. It becomes clear to each individual as they no longer can do something they once did or when still engaging in a familiar task ... takes far longer and is done with less precision than in the old days. Does this help us find a definition? Perhaps.
Most demographers agree now that we are looking three segments of older age. Young Old, Old Old, and Oldest Old.
This is currently defined as young old (60 to 69 years), the middle old (70 to 79 years), and the very old (80 years and older).
A Toast to all of us who fall into this wide-ranging and ill-defined spectrum.