When does old age begin?

WHen does old age begin

The Older Americans Act defines an older adult as someone 60 years old and older. We follow that definition at Senior Resources – but some of our programs may use 65 and AARP starts sending you membership information right before you turn 50. The National Institute on Aging generally uses 65 or older, and Census data generally uses 65 and older.

And when do YOU feel old? Studies show that we think old age begins later than we used to think. A recent study in the journal Psychology and Aging indicates that many people think old age starts at around 74. For many people, as we age, we push that number back even further. (You can read more about the study here. )

When we’re in our 20s, we often think “old” means around 50 (after all, AARP comes calling then, right?), but that number tends to grow as we get older and, hopefully, wiser.

If you’re like my young adult daughter, being old is “10 years older than grandma” – who is 85. So great news – you aren’t old until 95! Fortunately, my mom has always been healthy, active, and vibrant; she is how we all hope to age. Understandably my sister and I and our kids all hope we have her genetic makeup.

Since turning 60 a year ago, technically now eligible for services at my place of employment, I’ve also given more thought to aging. We tend to think of the “older old” as those 85 and older, and that makes sense as the average life expectancy in the U.S. is 77, according to the CDC.

Right after reading that article, there was an article about the actress Jane Seymour, who at 73 says she is “not afraid to look my age.” She prides herself on remaining relevant in an industry that seems to prioritize youth and beauty. She works hard to stay healthy, advocates for others, and tries to push back against others’ ideas of aging, saying “I just think that it’s about the best you can be at the age you’re at … we’re going to go through stages in life and we should enjoy the ride as long as we can.” (Read more here.)

What do you think? How old is old? We would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email us at [email protected].

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