age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the average
life span of human beings, and
thus the end of the human life
cycle. Euphemisms and terms for
old people include seniors (American usage),
senior citizens (British and American usage)
and the elderly. As occurs with almost any definable
group of humanity, some people will hold a prejudice against others
— in this case, against old people. This is one form of ageism.
people have limited regenerative abilities and are more prone
to disease, syndromes, and sickness than other adults.
For the biology of ageing,
see senescence. The medical study of
the aging process is gerontology,
and the study of diseases that afflict the elderly is geriatrics.
boundary between middle age and old
age cannot be defined exactly because it does not have the same
meaning in all societies. People can be considered old because
of certain changes in their activities or social roles. Examples:
people may be considered old when they become grandparents,
or when they begin to do less or different work — retirement.
the United States of America, and the United Kingdom, the age
of 65 can be considered the beginning of old age[by
whom?] because, until recently, United States and British
people became eligible to retire at this age with full Social
Security benefits. In 2003, the age at which a US citizen
became eligible for full Social Security benefits began to increase
gradually, and will continue to do so until it reaches 67 in 2027.
Currently, it is 66.
is often a general physical decline, and people become less active.
Old age can cause, amongst other things:
the industrialized countries, life expectancy has increased consistently
over the last decades. In the United States the proportion of
people aged 65 or older increased from 4% in 1900 to about 12%
in 2000. In 1900, only about 3 million of the nation's citizens
had reached 65. By 2000, the number of senior citizens had increased
to about 35 million.[citation
needed] Population experts estimate[citation
needed] that more than 50 million Americans — about 17
percent of the population — will be 65 or older in 2020. The number
of old people is growing around the world chiefly because of the
post-war 'baby boom', and increases in the provision and standards
of health care.
most parts of the world, women live, on average, longer than men;
even so, the disparities vary between 9 years or more in countries
such as Sweden and the United States to no difference or higher
life expectancy for men in countries
such as Zimbabwe and Uganda.
to Erik Erikson’s "Eight Stages
of Life" theory, the human personality is developed in a
series of eight stages that take place from the time of birth
and continue on throughout an individual’s complete life. He characterises
old age as a period of "Integrity vs. Despair", during
which a person focuses on reflecting back on their life. Those
who are unsuccessful during this phase will feel that their life
has been wasted and will experience many regrets. The individual
will be left with feelings of bitterness and despair. Those who
feel proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity.
Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few
regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals
will attain wisdom, even when confronting
who became famous in old age
Bernstein, author who published his first book, The
Invisible Wall, at 96 in 2007
Calment, oldest known person ever (122)
Nixon Cooper, who at age 106 made national news during the
presidential election for voting for Barack
Obama. She was mentioned in Obama's victory speech.
D, political activist who ran for public office at the age
Fisher, blacksmith who returned from retirement to become the
first person over the age of 100 to achieve the ACA qualification.
Dandolo, who led the infamous Fourth
Crusade in his 80s
and Bessie Delany, civil rights activists
Ellis, 101-year-old African-American LGBT activist
Holway, rape survivor and activist
Harris "Mother" Jones, Irish-American labor organizer
Kuhn, activist and founder of the Gray
Laborde, actress who began acting in her 90s
Martin, said to be the oldest worker in the UK at age 103
Moses, American folk artist
who became a successful general at 74
Oakley, aka geriatric1927, British senior famous for his
Peller, Wendy's spokeswoman, famous
for her "Where's the Beef?" catch-phrase
Perry, actress who played the role of Madge
Jane Rathbun, nurse and activist who was arrested for serving
marijuana brownies to AIDS
Reynolds, folk singer and political activist
Riley, blogger who started blogging at 107
Winston, who at age 100 retired from his job working for
the Los Angeles Metro after
72 years missing only one day, that being for his wife's funeral