What Age Is Legally Considered Elderly? (2023)

The elderlies are a crucial part of the US population. They make up approximately 15% of the entire population, and future trends show that this number could go up to 24% by 2060.

According to the US government, people who have reached the age of 65 or above are considered elderly. (Sixty-Five Plus)

Table of Contents

What age is considered elderly in the United States?

According to Wikipedia, old age refers to “ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings, and is thus the end of the human life cycle.” (Old Age)

Getting white hair or having a wrinkled face is not a prerequisite for being old and called the elderly. Likewise, the elderly are not necessarily those who’re diseased or bedridden but individuals who have reached a particular chronological age.

Life’s stages are divided into several phases. When a baby is born, he enters the phase of infancy. As he grows up, he goes through stages of childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. While ‘old age’ is a loose term that applies to everyone above the age of 55 or 60 (sometimes even lower), it is not essentially what you would call an elderly stage.

In the United States, an elderly person is defined as someone who has reached the chronological age of 65 years old. The stage is further divided into two sections; those that lie between the ages of 65 to 74 years old called the early elderly, and those that are over the age of 75 years who are referred to as late elderly. (Reviewing the definition)

The elderly are also sometimes called seniors, senior citizens, older adults, elders, or aging individuals. While diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, strokes, hypertension, and type 2-diabetes are common in older people, the elderly aren’t always inflicted with diseases.

So, an individual will be called elderly if he has reached the chronological age of 65 years whether or not he faces physical or psychological restrictions. On the other hand, someone who has dementia cannot be called ‘old’ or ‘aging’ simply because they aren’t able to function optimally.

The growth of the elderly population

In the 20th century, the number of US citizens under the age of 65 had gone up three times. However, at the same time, the number of people aged 65 or above has jumped up by a factor of 11. While there was just 1 elderly person in every 25 Americans in 1900, the number went up to 1 in 8 individuals in 1994.

One of the reasons, why this is so, is because of declining fertility and mortality rates. Trends show that there has also been a sharp rise in the median age of the American population where it was 20 years old in 1860, and went up to 34 years in 1994.

The Census Bureau runs the ‘middle series’ projections after every few years, and according to the latest reports, the elderly population will increase in number by up to two times between now and 2050. By that time, 1 in 5 Americans will be elderly. According to the report, most of this growth will happen between 2010 and 2030 because this will also be when the ‘baby boomer’ generation enters their old age. (The Census Bureau)

The global life expectancy has gone up from 65.3 years in 1990 to 71.5 years in 2013. Medical advancements and technologies have made it possible for you to live longer than your ancestors could have imagined a few hundred years ago.

What is considered old age for a man and a woman?

Statistically speaking, men and women are considered old when they reach the 60 to 65 age group. While the life expectancy was 40 in the 1920s, it has gone up to 70 in recent years.

Men and women age differently. According to the World Health Organization, their growth depends on their mind, body, spirituality as well as their emotional capacity. It depends on the society, their individual habits, and personal habits like smoking and alcohol consumption, their access to medical facilities, and their working conditions. (Gender, equality)

Puberty is one of the most pivotal stages of a young adult’s life. While girls begin this journey between the ages of 10 to 14, boys enter this stage a little later. Typically, puberty hits boys when they are 12 to 16 years of age.

While both men and women make it past the 100-year mark, the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation claims that women are more likely to cross that line as compared to men. The reason for this is because while men live to an average age of 76, most women cross the average age of 80 and die somewhere between 81-82 years. However, while women do live a little longer, the quality of life for men is better than their counterparts. (Life expectancy)

What age is considered elderly medically?

The process of aging is referred to as senescence. Medically speaking, an individual is called an elderly if he has reached 65 years of age. At this age, the medical treatment of the elderly, also known as geriatrics, can begin.

The reason why geriatrics is differentiated from other forms of medical care is that of the unique demands of the elderly. Geriatric medicine focuses on the health of old people and promotes their health by preventing and treating diseases that are commonly found in that particular age. While there is no set age at which a patient may come under the care of a geriatric physician, 60-65 years is the standard patient age.

A geriatrician is a doctor who specializes in the care and treatment of the elderly. However, you must remember that geriatrics is different from gerontology because the latter term refers to the study of the aging process.

What are the signs of old age?

Physical signs of aging like wrinkles, thinning hair, and a bad posture can be improved. While medical technology is also available for other symptoms of aging, it is imperative that you learn how to identify the signs. Remember, while some signs are a normal part of the aging process, others need instant attention and care.

So, to make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of signs you should look out for:

  • Eyesight problems: By the age of 40, most people will be reaching out for their eyeglasses. For seniors who have reached the 60-year mark, you may develop a cataract, which is where your lens clouds up and affects your vision. A cataract isn’t a serious problem but shouldn’t be ignored in the long run.
  • Memory-related issues: You might not be able to remember the birthdays of your grandchildren as you did your friends’ 30 or 40 years ago. While minor memory-related issues are common in aging adults, more serious gaps or forgetfulness should be taken seriously.
  • Decreased immunity: Another normal sign of aging is decreased immunity. You’ll be more susceptible to infections, and while you will need to watch out for serious complications like pneumonia, it’s usually not a cause of concern.
  • Hearing problems: Are you starting to ask your relatives to speak a little louder when they’re talking to you? Worried you may be heading towards hearing loss? Unless someone needs to speak directly into your ears for you to hear them, you shouldn’t stress. Hearing issues are common in aging and are a normal sign of the process.
  • Incontinence: Urine incontinence occurs in 10% of people aged 65 and above. Most people report leaking a little when they sneeze or cough. However, if you’re losing large amounts before you get to the bathroom, you might want to look into going to a doctor and try a treatment to reduce or completely eliminate the problem. (Prevalence and Trends)

Other symptoms such as brittle bones, teeth and gum problems, sagging skin, and reduced sex drive can also be signs of aging.

What illnesses are common in old age?

Now that we have discussed the common signs of aging, let’s look into some of the more serious conditions you should get looked at.
The following are some of the common illnesses of old age that shouldn’t be ignored:

  1. Alzheimer’s: According to the CDC, 92,604 seniors over the age of 65 died because of Alzheimer’s disease. While dementia has many other forms, Alzheimer’s is the most common disease in which patients suffer from severe memory loss. However, even though reports show that 1 in 10 people, aged 65 and above, has Alzheimer’s, there are a lot of other cases that go unreported. The reason for this is because most caregivers think that memory loss is a common sign of aging. (Promoting Health) (Facts and Figures)
  2. Arthritis: One of the most common alignments that the elderly experience is arthritis. As per the CDC, this affects 49.7% of all adults over 65, which can lead to severe pain and lower the quality of life as a result. Even though arthritis isn’t a life-threatening disease, it can hamper your daily routine. To ease pain and alleviate related symptoms, you can try exercises and a personalized activity plan after consulting your doctor. (Arthritis – Related)
  3. Heart disease: Coronary problems or heart diseases remain the #1 reason why people aged over 65 die each year. It is a chronic condition, which affects 37% of men and 26% women over 65 years. High blood pressure and cholesterol can lead to stroke and heart attacks, and this is why it is recommended that seniors take care of the health of their heart.

Senior health concerns are all but limited to these three. While they are some of the most common causes of death in elders, other diseases like cancer, respiratory issues, diabetes, osteoporosis, and obesity are also parts of the problem.

What Age Is Legally Considered Elderly? (1)

Keeping active and fit

How do you stay healthy in old age?

Unless you’ve discovered the elixir of life, you can’t stay young and healthy till the end of time. However, what you can do is to stay healthy and fit even when you’re aging.

The following tips will help you enjoy your aging process and allow you to have a more positive outlook:

  • Eat right: We’ve heard it throughout our lifetimes. It was stressed by our mothers when we were young and suggested by our doctors when we entered our middle ages. But while young people can get away with eating processed unhealthy food, its effects will be more pronounced on the elderly. So, live clean and eat organic foods that help improve your health rather than diminish it.
  • Exercise: Again, if you haven’t been to the gym your entire life, it’s time you took up some light exercise or a quick stroll in the park. Brisk walking and other exercises are recommended for seniors because they don’t just help your heart pump faster but also get rid of toxins from your body. It fights obesity.
  • Sleep well: Some people swear by sleep as a reason for their feeling topnotch. Avoid caffeine during the evening, and let go of all the distractions when you’re trying to sleep. Remember, there’s a link between sleeping and dementia, too, so you may avoid those memory-related issues while you sleep! (Dementia and Sleep)

Other than these three important tips to stay healthy, you also need social activity. Don’t let loneliness take over your life because this will only lead to depression. Also, remember to go on routine checkups to your physician, and take all your prescribed medications on time.

Related questions

1. Is “elderly” politically correct?

While most medical journals use the terms “older adult” or “elderly,” there is a difference in what is preferred and what is not depending on the platform where it is used. Media platforms would rather use the word “senior” or “older adult.” “Elderly” is no longer considered appropriate. It doesn’t sound politically correct.

2. What age is middle age for a man?

As per the Oxford English Dictionary, a middle-aged man is he who is aged between 45 and 65.

3. What is the average age for male menopause?

The average age for male menopause is 50 years and older. Also known as andropause, it happens because of a drop in testosterone levels.

References

Center of Disease Control and Prevention. “Arthritis – Related Statistics.” CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis-related-stats.htm?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Farthritis%2Fdata_statistics%2Farthritis_
related_stats.htm
(accessed January 14, 2019).

Population Council. “The Census Bureau on Prospects for US Population Growth In the Twenty-First Century.” JSTOR.org. https://www.jstor.org/stable/172476?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents (accessed January 15, 2019).

National Sleep Foundation. “Dementia and Sleep.” SleepFoundation.org. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/dementia-and-sleep (accessed January 14, 2019).

Alzheimer’s Association. “Facts and Figures.” “ALZ.org. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures (accessed January 14, 2019).

World Health Organization. “Gender, equality and human rights.” WHO.com. https://www.who.int/gender-equity-rights/en/ (accessed January 14, 2019).

Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluations. “Life expectancy increasing globally as death toll falls from major diseases.” HealthData.org. http://www.healthdata.org/news-release/life-expectancy-increases-globally-death-toll-falls-major-diseases (accessed January 14, 2019).

Wikipedia. “Old Age.” Wikipedia.com. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_age (accessed January 14, 2019).

Markland, AD, Holly E Richter, Chyng-Wen Fwu, Paul Eggers, and John W. Kusek. “Prevalence and Trends Of Urinary Incontinence In Adults In The United States, 2001 to 2008.” Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3197263/ (accessed January 14, 2019).

Center of Disease Control and Prevention. “Promoting Health and Independence for an Aging Population at A Glance.” CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/alzheimers.htm (accessed January 14, 2019).

Orimo, Hajime, Takaou Suzuki, Hidekti Ito, and Atsushi Araki. “Reviewing the definition of elderly.” ResearchGate.net. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263589932_Reviewing_the_definition_of_elderly (accessed January 12, 2019).

U.S Census Bureau. “Sixty-Five Plus in The United States.” Census.gov. https://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/statbriefs/agebrief.html (accessed January 14, 2019).

What Age Is Legally Considered Elderly? (2)

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FAQs

At what age are you considered very 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.

Is 55 years old considered old? ›

The World Health Organisation believes that most developed world countries characterise old age starting at 60 years and above. However, this definition isn't adaptable to a place like Africa, where the more traditional definition of an elder, or elderly person, starts between 50 to 65 years of age.

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

Senior Adult = 60+

What is the difference between old age and elderly? ›

The American Psychological Association (1) states in Section 2.17 Age, (p 69): “Elderly is not acceptable as a noun and is considered pejorative by some as an adjective. Older person is preferred.

Does your body slow down at 60? ›

Yes, your metabolism -- how quickly your body burns calories -- often slows as you age. But a poor diet and lack of exercise probably are bigger reasons why the number on your scale climbs higher in your 60s. So get active, build more fat-burn muscles, and watch what you eat.

What is the life expectancy of a 55 year old? ›

Life Expectancy Tables
AgeLife Expectancy-MaleLife Expectancy-Female
5327.1630.59
5426.3429.72
5525.5228.85
5624.7227.99
116 more rows
Jun 13, 2019

What happens to your body at age 70? ›

What's happening. 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 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 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.

How do you know if you're aging well? ›

Signs That You're Aging Well
  • You Have Fewer Wrinkles. One of the most apparent signs that you are aging well is having fewer wrinkles. ...
  • You Heal From Acne Quickly. ...
  • You Have Minimal Hair Loss. ...
  • You Don't Have Sunspots. ...
  • Your Skin Stays Hydrated.

How much sleep should an 84 year old person get? ›

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.

What is the politically correct term for old people? ›

Terms such as older persons, older people, older adults, older patients, older individuals, persons 65 years and older, or the older population are preferred. Use older adults, a term less likely to connote discrimination and negative stereotypes, when describing individuals 65 years old and older.

What defines an old person? ›

An older person is defined by the United Nations as a person who is over 60 years of age. However, families and communities often use other socio-cultural referents to define age, including family status (grandparents), physical appearance, or age-related health conditions.

At what age does our body begin to physically decline? ›

After age 30, people tend to lose lean tissue. Your muscles, liver, kidney, and other organs may lose some of their cells. This process of muscle loss is called atrophy. Bones may lose some of their minerals and become less dense (a condition called osteopenia in the early stages and osteoporosis in the later stages).

What age does the brain start to decline? ›

“Cognitive decline may begin after midlife, but most often occurs at higher ages (70 or higher).” (Aartsen, et al., 2002) “… relatively little decline in performance occurs until people are about 50 years old.” (Albert & Heaton, 1988).

At what age does the brain decline? ›

The overall volume of the brain begins to shrink when we're in our 30s or 40s, with the rate of shrinkage increasing around age 60. But, the volume loss isn't uniform throughout the brain — some areas shrink more, and faster, than other areas.

What are the odds of living to 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. In fact, the authors found that women who were taller than 5 feet 9 inches were 31 percent more likely to reach 90, compared to those who were under 5 feet 3 inches.

What is the lowest average death age? ›

Males born in the Lesotho have the lowest life expectancy of the world in 2022. Similarly low is the life expectancy for females born in this country. The average woman lives only 56 years.

What percent of US population dies before age 70? ›

According to 2015 age-specific mortality rates, almost 60 percent of the 2015 birth cohort will live past 80, while more than 20 percent will die before 70.

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.

How many times do 70 year olds make love? ›

They found that 53 percent of participants ages 65 to 74 had sex at least once in the previous year. In the 75-to-85 age group, only 26 percent did. (Lindau notes that a major determinant of sexual activity is whether one has a partner or not — and many older people are widowed, separated or divorced.)

At what age does your face change most? ›

The biggest changes typically occur when people are in their 40s and 50s, but they can begin as early as the mid-30s and continue into old age. Even when your muscles are in top working order, they contribute to facial aging with repetitive motions that etch lines in your skin.

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 are the three stages of old age? ›

Gerontologists like to classify old age into three periods: the period from age sixty-five to seventy-five sometimes called the 'young old'; the period from age seventy-five to eighty-five sometimes called the 'old'; and the period post age eighty-five, sometimes referred to as the 'old old.

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

How many 90 year olds are still alive? ›

The nation's 90-and-older population nearly tripled over the past three decades, reaching 1.9 million in 2010, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau and supported by the National Institute on Aging. Over the next four decades, this population is projected to more than quadruple.

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 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.

What age do you start to decline? ›

After age 30, people tend to lose lean tissue. Your muscles, liver, kidney, and other organs may lose some of their cells. This process of muscle loss is called atrophy. Bones may lose some of their minerals and become less dense (a condition called osteopenia in the early stages and osteoporosis in the later stages).

Is it normal to take naps as you get older? ›

Daytime napping among older people is a normal part of aging – but it may also foreshadow Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. And once dementia or its usual precursor, mild cognitive impairment, are diagnosed, the frequency and/or duration of napping accelerates rapidly, according to a new study.

How often should a 70 year old shower? ›

Seniors don't have to bathe every day

Even though most Americans are used to showering every single day, it's not a strict requirement for good health. At a minimum, bathing once or twice a week helps most seniors avoid skin breakdown and infections.

How far should a 75 year old walk? ›

Older adults who walk three to four miles a day — 6,000 to 9,000 steps — were found to be 40 to 50 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than those who walk a mile (2,000 steps) a day, according to research published in the journal Circulation.

What body type lives longest? ›

When it comes to body shape and longevity, it's more helpful to compare apples and pears. That's the message of a study published in the journal PLOS ONE that found that pear-shaped people, who have comparatively thinner waists than people shaped like apples, tend to live longer.

What is the average age of death? ›

Life expectancy for men and women

A male child born in the United States today will live to be 74.5 years old on average. This puts the male citizens of the US in 47th place in this ranking. On average, US women are 5.7 years older, reaching an age of 80.2.

Which parent determines longevity? ›

Mother's life span determines how long daughters will live, how healthy they will be.

References

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