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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Am I Old?

When Does Someone Attain Old Age?

Old Age is really a social category that is defined differently by various cultures.

In the United States, we define old in a number of ways socially.
  • Age 40 is the age at and beyond which a person may not be discriminated against in employment. (Age Discrimination in Employment Act ADEA)
  • Age 55 is the age at which low income individuals might qualify for subsidized employment and learn new work skills. (Title V of the Older Americans Act)
  • Age 60 is the age of eligibility for Older Americans Act services. Due to limited funding, however, services tend to be targeted to those aged who are most needy. (Older Americans Act of 1965)
  • Age 62 is the age at which persons can take early retirement. (The Social Security Act)
  • Age 65 has been the traditional age for full retirement. However, because of longer life expectancies, the full retirement age is increasing for people born after 1938. Full retirement now goes from 65 to 67 depending upon the year of your birth. (The Social Security Act)
  • Age 70 has been used as a mandatory retirement for the members of some professions.
Rather than lumping everyone past a certain age as old, some social gerontologists make a distinction between the young-old (ages 55 to 74) and the old-old (ages 75 and older). Still other gerontologists add a middle-old category between the young-old and the old-old categories.

No matter how the aged are categorized, aging is a highly individual experience.

Chronological age may differ considerably from a person's functional age,
 and age-related changes occur at different rates for different persons.

Age-related changes don't begin at the same time nor do they all occur simultaneously.

Changes as we age are normal.

Generally speaking, age 85 and beyond is considered the "frail elderly".
But remember, even the experts do not agree.  There are many people past 85 who are NOT frail.
The definition of old age is not stable or even universally agreed upon!

 So you get to choose!

Are you old?

Aging gracefully or clumsily depending on the day, nay, depending on the hour,
Glad you visited,