At What Point Is Someone Considered Elderly? [Find Out] (2023)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in most developed countries old age starts at 60 years and above.

Article Contents hide

1 How old is an Elderly Person?

1.1 Independence

1.2 Interdependence

1.3 Dependency

1.4 Crisis Management and End of Life

2 Is 60 Years Old Considered Elderly?

3 Who is Defined as Elderly?

4 What is the difference between Old and Elderly?

5 Is 80 Years Considered Elderly?

6 Is it Okay to Say Elderly?

7 Is 75 Years Old Considered Elderly?

The WHO’s reports show that the world’s population is aging rapidly. According to their predictions, the world’s population over 60 years will double between 2015 and 2050, reaching 2 billion.

People are living longer today, shifting the distribution of a population worldwide towards older ages. According to the United States Census Bureau,in 2060, one in four Americans will be 65 or older.

With life expectancy increasing, the point at which someone is considered elderly also changes. For example, in North America, people are considered old at 70 and 73, for men and women respectively.

Ten years ago, people were considered old at age 59. However, today you would be considered old at 70, research shows.

In developing countries, people are considered elderly when they retire and start receiving some form of pension.

While longer life offers opportunities to aging people and their families, health issues often dominate older people’s lives, causing a decline in their mental and physical well-being. Poor health in older people may make coping with aging changes more challenging to deal with.

Although no one can escape the natural process of growing old, for most people, adapting to aging is challenging because there is usually a gap between our expectations and how growing old looks like.

The decline in mental and physical health, the death of loved ones, and reduced mobility and socialization opportunities are stressful for most people. Many seniors find it hard to adapt to these changes, reject home care services, and refuse to move to a senior living community.

This can be challenging for older person and their family and caregivers.

How old is an Elderly Person?

There are three aspects of aging: biological, psychological, and social. Most people transition through life stages in characteristically orderly ways, so in most western countries, you would be considered an elderly person at the age of 65 to 70. This is the age when most people retire and start receiving some form of pension.

The normal aging process has five primary stages:

  • Independence
  • Interdependence
  • Dependency
  • Crisis management
  • End of life


This stage of adult life means that a person doesn’t need help with activities of daily living as they can handle pretty much all of their needs on their own. Although mental and physical health may be declining, this decline doesn’t impair a person’s day-to-day life.

People in this stage of aging are typically between 60 and 70 years of age.


At this stage of aging, physical activity and mental health may be deteriorating, making cognitive tasks and ADLs more taxing. An aging person may need a caregiver to help them with activities of daily living such as cooking, grooming, driving, and similar.

People in this stage of aging typically in their 70s and 80s.


By this stage of aging, a person typically cannot handle their ADLs independently. More than 30 percent of U.S citizens aged 65 years or older have some disability that prevents them from living independently and actively. According to the ADA statistics, these numbers increase with chronological age, do more than 50 percent of seniors aged 75 and older experience some disabling condition.

Most aging adults develop chronic diseases such as hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, or dementia. Other seniors experience injuries or develop mobility problems, seeing or hearing, impairing their quality of life dramatically.

Many aging adults reach this stage by their late 70s and beyond.

Crisis Management and End of Life

People who reach these final two stages of the aging process need almost 24-hour care and assistance. Because of this, most people at this stage stay in assisted living facilities or hospice care.

While many aging adults reach this stage in their late 70s, some may enter it earlier, while others might not find themselves in the final aging stages until much later.

Aging adults often experience various health issues that prevent them from performing activities of daily living (ADLs) and going about their daily lives. The most common health conditions people age 65 and older experience involve respiratory diseases, heart disease, vision or hearing loss, dementia, and mental health disorders (most commonly, depression.

Many aging adults also experience a lack of respect and ageism in their communities.

The termageismrefers to stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination against older people or treating a person less favorably because of their age.

You may have trouble finding a job, being refused travel insurance, receive poor health care service, or experience a lower quality of service in public places because of your age.

Is 60 Years Old Considered Elderly?

Since life expectancy is increasing in people worldwide and age definition becoming a moving target, you may wonder what makes you elderly. Are you old at 60? Can you be considered a senior citizen if you still work? And what is the borderline between middle age and old age?

It is impossible to give matter-of-fact answers to these questions. Whether 60 years of age is considered elderly may depend on several factors.

While in most countries people attain legal adulthood at 18 (at 18, you can vote, get married, or buy a house), there is no universally accepted standard regarding the age at which people become elderly.

However, in most industrialized countries, the onset of old age is considered to be around 60 to 65. In the U.S, this is the age when society commonly considers you elderly because this is when most Americans stop working and become eligible for age-based assistance programs.

Who is Defined as Elderly?

Typically, theelderlyhas been defined as the chronological age of 65 or older. People from 65 to 74 years old are usually considered early elderly, while those over 75 years old are referred to as late elderly.

The wordelderlyhas been used for hundreds of years, originating from the nounelder, which was considered a respected title. However, many people don’t like to think of themselves as elderly, as this adjective often carries the connotation of dependent and weak.

In terms of social aging, are considered elderly at 65 years of age, which is the age needed to qualify for Elderly Tax Credit, Medicare, or home health services (Medicare is also available for people with disabilities younger than 65 and people with End-Stage Renal Disease).

What is the difference between Old and Elderly?

Both words are used to describe an aging population. Old originates from the Old English wordeald, meaning aged.

Elderly is derived from the nounelder, and it means “not quite an elder” – according to the origin of these two words, someone becomes old after being elderly.

In the past, aging individuals would be referred to as old. In recent decades, however, many people have used the word elderly as they believe it is the more sensitive or more politically correct way to address an aging population.

While some people object to being described as old, others resent being referred to as elderly. We live in a culture obsessed with youth, so being old is commonly perceived as unfavorable. Also, people often associate both terms with being feeble, of poor health, and useless.

Is 80 Years Considered Elderly?

A person is typically considered elderly when they reach an advanced stage of life past middle age. Today, with increased life expectancy, many people are unsure of how old is old.

If you define age by chronology, 80 years old is considered elderly since this is the number of years that have elapsed since a person was born.

According to a famous saying,“You are only as old as you feel,”your physical and mental health status can also define the age. If you are 80 but still independent and in good mental and physical health, you may not think of yourself as elderly.

Finally, you can define age by your social role. Some people consider themselves old when they become grandparents or when they retire, so in this case, 80 years can be considered elderly.

Is it Okay to Say Elderly?

Some people consider the term elderly to be offensive instead of calling themselves aging adults, older adults, or seniors.

These days, when people live longer, leading active and healthier lives, many believe that the term elderly should be thrown away altogether due to the stigma attached to this word. In western countries, the wordelderly carries the connotation of being week, disabled, and dependent, so many people avoid using it when describing themselves and other aging individuals.

Is 75 Years Old Considered Elderly?

In most cultures,people aged over 70 or 75 years are considered elderly. However, aging is not a disability, and many healthy, active, and independent people don’t consider themselves elderly and feel uncomfortable when others treat them that way.

Many of the people aged 65 years or older with mental and physical health are well maintained are capable of actively participating in social activities and living independent lives.

Some authors define the age from 65 to 74 as pre-old age, while those aged over 75 are considered old. Similarly, one study differentiates the young-old from 60 to 69, the middle old from 70 to 79, and very old 80 years of age and older.


What is considered an elderly person? ›

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines an “older adult” as someone who is at least 60 years old. Many states may also have different definitions of “elderly” when determining what resources are available in cases of elder abuse, although most states commonly use 65 years of age as the cut-off.

What is the age range for elderly? ›

Traditionally, the “elderly” are considered to be those persons age 65 and older.

What is the CDC definition of elderly? ›

Medicare-eligible resident persons aged ≥65 years.

What are the signs of being an elderly? ›

Natural changes happen in the body as we age, such as skin damage from sun exposure, loss of muscle and physical strength, loss of some sight and hearing, as well as changes to our sleep patterns, energy levels and appetite.

Is there a difference between elderly and senior? ›

Senior citizen: Variably defined as an elderly or retired person, this term generally refers to someone who is at least 60 or 65 years of age. Some people consider "senior citizen" to be a patronizing term.

What are the three categories of the elderly? ›

The older adult population can be divided into three life-stage subgroups: the young-old (approximately 65–74), the middle-old (ages 75–84), and the old-old (over age 85).

What happens to your body when you turn 80? ›

Your bones, joints and muscles

With age, bones tend to shrink in size and density, weakening them and making them more susceptible to fracture. You might even become a bit shorter. Muscles generally lose strength, endurance and flexibility — factors that can affect your coordination, stability and balance.

What stage of life are you when you are 70? ›

Senior Adult = 60+

What is the golden age for elderly? ›

The senior years are the period from age fifty-one until the end of life. A number of physiological and emotional changes take place during this life stage. For example, many older adults face serious health challenges, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or dementia.

Is 71 years old considered elderly? ›

Who is Defined as Elderly? Typically, the elderly has been defined as the chronological age of 65 or older. People from 65 to 74 years old are usually considered early elderly, while those over 75 years old are referred to as late elderly.

What are the most common chronic conditions in older adults? ›

Chronic Diseases
  • Older adults are disproportionately affected by chronic conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. ...
  • The leading causes of death among older adults in the U.S. are heart disease, cancer, COVID-19, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes.

What is the hardest part of aging? ›

Surprising Health Challenges of Aging
  • Weight Gain.
  • Sleep Problems.
  • Nutrition Problems.
  • Fragile Bones.
  • Cancer.
  • Depression.
  • Memory Loss.
  • Alcohol Tolerance Changes.
Aug 15, 2022

What three things should a person avoid once they are past 70 years old? ›

Fatty foods, high sugar content, lots of alcohol and caffeine, and heavy dairy are the staples of poor nutrition after 70.

What happens to a woman's body at 70? ›

Your Bones, Joints, and Muscles

Your muscles get weaker, and the tendons -- which connect muscles to your skeleton -- get stiffer. This will decrease your strength and flexibility. In your 70s, you might lose an inch or two off your height as disks in your back flatten.

What is a nice way to say elderly? ›

the elderly

Many people now think that this expression is offensive. It is better to use a term such as older person, older people or older adult.

Is 70 the new 50? ›

What “70 is the new 50” actually means today, is that if you're 70, you have at least another 12 years to work before you can retire. AARP formerly stood for the American Association of Retired Persons. Presumably they decided that was too long for folks to remember, so they officially changed it to just the acronym.

What is the highest level of care for elderly? ›

Level three is considered the highest level of care and is usually applied to seniors that have more significant cognitive impairments or needs that inhibit their ability to complete their daily activities.

What are 3 social changes that occur with the elderly? ›

Decreased social contact – friends and family die- person may withdraw. Reconciliation with past-resolving conflicts, losses, acceptance. Changes in physical appearance may be difficult. Changes in roles/tasks that people can manage can make them feel they have less to contribute.

What are the 4 types of aging? ›

As of October 2020, Snyder's team has identified four distinct ageotypes: metabolic agers, or people whose immune systems age fastest; immune agers; kidney (or “nephrotic”) agers; and liver (or “hepatic”) agers.

How much sleep does an 81 year old need? ›

Sleep and Aging

Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as all adults—7 to 9 hours each night. But, older people tend to go to sleep earlier and get up earlier than they did when they were younger. There are many reasons why older people may not get enough sleep at night.

Can you get stronger once you turn 80? ›

A new study found that men in their 70s and 80s who had never followed an exercise regimen could build muscle mass as well as "master athletes" -- those of the same age who had worked out throughout their lives and still competed at the top levels of their sports.

At what age does physical strength decline? ›

Muscle mass and strength tend to reduce by 30%–50% between the ages of 30 and 80 years,2 with the main cause the reduction in the number of muscle fibers and atrophy of type II muscle fiber. Furthermore, losses in muscular strength occur at an approximate rate of 12%–14% per decade after age 50 years.

At what age do seniors start slowing down? ›

New study says decline begins in our 50s

By the time you reach your 50s, your strength, balance and endurance are already beginning to wane — much earlier than previously thought, according to a new study.

What is the longest stage of your life? ›

Adulthood is the period from the time after we transition from school and childhood years through the time when we enter our golden years. For most of us, adulthood is the longest stage of life.

Does life feel long when you're old? ›

That said, the idea that time feels as though it's going faster in middle age appears to be a myth. In fact, it depends on the time-frame you are considering. In time perception studies, adults in mid-life report that the hours and days pass at what feels like a normal speed; it is the years that flash by.

What percentage of people live to 90? ›

The team then grouped those activities into three categories: less than 30 minutes daily, 30 to 60 minutes daily and 90 minutes or more daily. The participants were monitored until they died or turned 90. At the end of the study, about 16 percent of the men and about 34 percent of the women survived to the age of 90.

How do I prepare for old age alone? ›

How to Prepare to Age Alone
  1. Speak up. Talk about your choices with your friends and family members, it is a discussion that needs to be had so stop waiting for it to go away, or magically resolve itself. ...
  2. Act early. ...
  3. Make new friends and keep the old. ...
  4. Appoint a proxy. ...
  5. Live well.

How do you prepare for old age? ›

6 ways you can prepare to “age well”
  1. Adapt your home. Stairs, baths, and kitchens can present hazards for older people. ...
  2. Prevent falls. ...
  3. Consider your housing options. ...
  4. Think ahead about how to get the help you may need. ...
  5. Plan for emergencies. ...
  6. Write advance care directives.

What are the top 3 leading causes of death in elderly? ›

The major cause of death in the 55-64 age group is cancer followed by heart disease and injury. In the 75+ age group, the leading cause shifts to heart disease, and injury drops below Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cerebrovascular diseases, and pneumonia.

What is the most common cause of death in older adults? ›

This article outlines the top causes of death for adults over the age of 65, starting with the number one cause: heart disease. Using disease prevention strategies, such as eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight, can help you avoid or reduce the impact of some these conditions.

What is the life expectancy of a 80 year old person? ›

The average life expectancy in the United States is 9.1 years for 80-year-old white women and 7.0 years for 80-year-old white men. Conclusions: For people 80 years old or older, life expectancy is greater in the United States than it is in Sweden, France, England, and Japan.

How often should seniors shower? ›

As people get older, they have less energy to get things done each day. Usually, personal hygiene (specifically bathing) is one of those things that gets neglected. So how often should an elderly bathe? To avoid any skin conditions or infections, a senior should bathe at least once or twice a week.

Do you feel old at 70? ›

A small fraction of people — fewer than 10 percent — feel older. The discrepancy between felt and actual age increases with the years, Dr. Terracciano said. At age 50, people may feel about five years, or 10 percent, younger, but by the time they're 70 they may feel 15 percent or even 20 percent younger.

How many 90 year olds live independently? ›

Similarly, independence decreases as people age. On average, 31 percent of people in the study could carry out all activities independently. For people 90 years or older, this dropped to four percent.

What percentage of 70 year olds are healthy? ›

When asked to rate their overall health, 82% of adults ages 65 to 74 described it as excellent (18%), very good (32%) or good (32%) — on the positive side of the ledger. By contrast, 18% of this age group had a negative perspective, describing their health as fair (14%) or poor (4%).

What is the most common disorder in patients over 75 years of age? ›

Arthritis. This chronic disease is one of the most common age related conditions older adults experience. Arthritis causes joint pain and chronic inflammation.

What are the top 3 chronic conditions? ›

Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.

What to do when you're 75 years old? ›

Spending time at an event, making friends, or catching up with old acquaintances can have a significantly positive impact on your overall wellness.
  1. Hiking and Walking Clubs. ...
  2. Group Exercise Classes. ...
  3. Wii Sports. ...
  4. Gardening Clubs. ...
  5. Book Clubs. ...
  6. Life Story Exercises. ...
  7. Lectures and Continuing Ed Classes. ...
  8. Online Collaborative Games.
Jan 20, 2023

Which part of your body ages the most rapidly? ›

It is, in fact, your breasts. A study, published by the journal Genome Biology has found that breast tissue is the part of the body that's most sensitive to the affects of ageing. The breasts are exposed to a number of elements that can induce sagging and ageing.

What is life expectancy at 80? ›

The average life expectancy in the United States is 9.1 years for 80-year-old white women and 7.0 years for 80-year-old white men. Conclusions: For people 80 years old or older, life expectancy is greater in the United States than it is in Sweden, France, England, and Japan.

How often should a 70 year old shower? ›

Bathing once or twice a week is acceptable for older adults, as the purpose is to prevent the skin from breaking down and lower the risk of skin infections. Seniors also tend to be less active than younger adults, so they can get away with fewer baths. However, you don't want your loved one to develop body odor.

What is the leading cause of death in older adults? ›

This article outlines the top causes of death for adults over the age of 65, starting with the number one cause: heart disease. Using disease prevention strategies, such as eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight, can help you avoid or reduce the impact of some these conditions.


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