Here’s a question, and some variants, to ponder

Lynn Dorman, Ph.D. // Aging


November 19  

What is old age? Or – when does old age start? Or even this: Is there really such a “thing” as old age?

I have taught life span development many times over the decades and it’s a question that came up [and comes] up in college classes and now it’s popping up among other populations – even among those who might be considered to be “in” their old age.

I have heard many 20-somethings talk about “those poor senior citizens” who collect social security. The “seniors” are often described as infirm, unable to work and otherwise to be pitied. These same 20-somethings most likely come into contact with those over 65 – who are still working, still active and hardly pitiable…but the 20-somethings do not see those over-65ers as being over 65.

So when are you old? Is it an age determination? or is it something else?

When I was a “young kid” a few years removed from graduate school – many of the local psychology professors were beginning to think and write about aging but few had really started studying it. One such psychologist jokingly said that only when we all got older would psychologists start really understanding older ages. I think she was right.

Studying older and aging populations is relatively new…and defining old age keeps changing…

Me? I hate the term “old age.” It has no real meaning. We do not speak of childhood as “new age” or junior – so why label some as old age or senior? I much prefer “old fart” – it stops people in their tracks – annoys some and makes many laugh… I ask for my old fart discount when I go to a particular store on what I call old fart Wednesdays – when we old farts get a 10% discount.

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About the Author

Native of NYC who moved a lot, got several degrees, and has been a lifelong writer and reader... I am interested in many things - and I write [and teach] about them - especially the human lifespan and healthy aging

Lynn Dorman, Ph.D.