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The age which qualifies for senior citizen status varies widely.In governmental contexts, it is usually associated with an age at which pensions or medical benefits for the elderly become available.
At the same time, the WHO recognized that the developing world often defines old age, not by years, but by new roles, loss of previous roles, or inability to make active contributions to society.It is used in general usage instead of traditional terms such as old person, old-age pensioner, or elderly as a courtesy and to signify continuing relevance of and respect for this population group as "citizens" of society, of senior rank.It has come into widespread use in recent decades in legislation, commerce, and common speech.Old people often have limited regenerative abilities and are more susceptible to disease, syndromes, and sickness than younger adults.The organic process of ageing is called senescence, Definitions of old age include official definitions, sub-group definitions, and four dimensions as follows. At what age old age begins cannot be universally defined because it differs according to the context.Old age comprises "the later part of life; the period of life after youth and middle age . Most developed-world countries have accepted the chronological age of 50 years as a definition of 'elderly' or older person.
The United Nations has agreed that 65 years may be usually denoted as old age and this is the first attempt at an international definition of old age.Although he was skeptical of the gods, Aristotle concurred in the dislike of old people.In his Ethics, he wrote that "old people are miserly; they do not acknowledge disinterested friendship; only seeking for what can satisfy their selfish needs." For Thomas More, on the island of Utopia, when people are so old as to have "out-lived themselves" and are terminally ill, in pain, and a burden to everyone, the priests exhort them about choosing to die.The marks of old age are so unlike the marks of middle age that legal scholar Richard Posner suggests that, as an individual transitions into old age, he/she can be thought of as different persons "time-sharing" the same identity. Gillick, a baby boomer, accuses her contemporaries of believing that by proper exercise and diet they can avoid the scourges of old age and proceed from middle age to death.Other writers treat the perceptions of middle-age people regarding their own old age. Studies find that many people in the 55–75 range can postpone morbidity by practicing healthy lifestyles. Minois comments that the scribe's "cry shows that nothing has changed in the drama of decrepitude between the age of the Pharaoh and the atomic age" and "expresses all the anguish of old people in the past and the present." Lillian Rubin, active in her 80s as an author, sociologist, and psychotherapist, opens her book 60 on Up: The Truth about Aging in America with "getting old sucks. Rubin contrasts the "real old age" with the "rosy pictures" painted by middle-age writers. Morrison delineates the heroism required by old age: to live through the disintegration of one's own body or that of someone you love. been with us since the stage of primitive society; it was both the source of wisdom and of infirmity, experience and decrepitude, of prestige and suffering." "Beauty and strength" were esteemed and old age was viewed as defiling and ugly.Chronological age may differ considerably from a person's functional age.