Old age: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A smiling old man from Chile, 2007.

Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the average life span of human beings, and thus the end of the human life cycle. Euphemisms and terms for old people include seniors (American usage), senior citizens (British and American usage) and the elderly. As occurs with almost any definable group of humanity, some people will hold a prejudice against others — in this case, against old people. This is one form of ageism.

Old people have limited regenerative abilities and are more prone to disease, syndromes, and sickness than other adults. For the biology of ageing, see senescence. The medical study of the aging process is gerontology, and the study of diseases that afflict the elderly is geriatrics.



Old Woman Dozing by Nicolaes Maes (1656). Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels

The boundary between middle age and old age cannot be defined exactly because it does not have the same meaning in all societies. People can be considered old because of certain changes in their activities or social roles. Examples: people may be considered old when they become grandparents, or when they begin to do less or different work — retirement.

In the USA, and the United Kingdom, the age of 65 can be considered the beginning of old age because, until recently, United States and British people became eligible to retire at this age with full Social Security benefits. In 2003, the age at which a US citizen became eligible for full Social Security benefits began to increase gradually, and will continue to do so until it reaches 67 in 2027.[citation needed] Currently, it is 66.[citation needed]

Physical changes

A gray-haired old woman from the United Kingdom.

There is often a general physical decline, and people become less active. Old age can cause, amongst other things:

Demographic changes

Elderly homeless man, Tokyo.

In the industrialized countries, life expectancy has increased consistently over the last decades.[1] In the United States the proportion of people aged 65 or older increased from 4% in 1900 to about 12% in 2000[2]. In 1900, only about 3 million of the nation's citizens had reached 65. By 2000, the number of senior citizens had increased to about 35 million.[citation needed] Population experts estimate[citation needed] that more than 50 million Americans — about 17 percent of the population — will be 65 or older in 2020. The number of old people is growing around the world chiefly because of the post-war 'baby boom', and increases in the provision and standards of health care.

Life expectancy

Population aged at least 65 years in 2005

In most parts of the world, women live, on average, longer than men; even so, the disparities vary between 9 years or more in countries such as Sweden and the United States to no difference or higher life expectancy for men in countries such as Zimbabwe and Uganda.[3]

Individuals who became famous in old age

Harry Patch, known as "the Last Tommy", was a British supercentenarian, and the last surviving soldier to have fought in the trenches of the First World War.

See also


  1. ^ http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus08.pdf#026
  2. ^ Meyer, Julie (2001). ""Census 2000 Brief, C2KBR/01-12, U.S."". "Census Bureau". http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/c2kbr01-12.pdf. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  3. ^ de Blij, Harm. The power of place. Geography, Destiny, and Globalization's Rough Landscape. Oxford Uni Press. London:2009. p161ff

External links

Preceded by
Middle age
Stages of human development
Old age
Succeeded by


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Age article)

From Wikiquote

Quotes about age



Organized alphabetically by author

  • All the best sands of my life are somehow getting into the wrong end of the hourglass. If I could only reverse it! Were it in my power to do so, would I?
  • I still think of myself as I was 25 years ago. Then I look in a mirror and see an old bastard and I realize it's me.
  • I recently turned 60. Practically a third of my life is over.
  • When you're forty, half of you belongs to the past — and when you're seventy, nearly all of you.
  • Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.
  • No one is so old that he does not think he could live another year.
  • A man is as old as he's feeling, a woman is as old as she looks.
  • We do not count a man's years until he has nothing else to count.
  • If youth only knew; if only age could.
    • Henri Estienne, Les Prémices (1594)
  • An old goat is never the more reverend for his beard.
  • Old age is not so fiery as youth, but when once provoked cannot be appeased.
  • To an old man any place that's warm is homeland.
  • When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.
  • Old age deprives the intelligent man only of qualities useless to wisdom.
  • Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms inside your head, and having people in them, acting. People you know, yet can't quite name.
    • Phillip Larkin, The Old Fools (1974)
  • I've changed my attitudes about what it means to age. Sometimes people decide it's their lot in life to be old, but people like Grandma bring color and excellence to their lives. That's what I've tried to do, too. I'm looking forward to the next stage.
    • Cloris Leachman, reported in Bill Adler, Funny Ladies: The Best Humor from America's Funniest Women (2001), p. 19.
  • Old age has its pleasures, which though different, are not less than the pleasures of youth.
  • Age imprints more wrinkles on the mind than it does on the face.
  • There are so few who can grow old with a good grace.
  • Old age is the most unexpected of things that can happen to a man.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • An aged Christian with the snow of time on his head may remind us that those points of earth are whitest that are nearest heaven.
  • Thanks to that regular and temperate course of life I have ever lived, I am still capable of taking an active part in these public scenes of business. In fine, he who fills up every hour of his life in such kind of labors as those I have mentioned, will insensibly slide into old age without perceiving its arrival; and his powers, instead of being suddenly and prematurely extinguished, will gradually decline by the gentle and natural effect of accumulated years.
  • The day of life spent in honest and benevolent labor comes in hope to an evening calm and lovely; and though the sun declines, the shadows that he leaves behind are only to curtain the spirit unto rest.
  • It is not so bad a thing to grow old; it is only getting a little nearer home; a little nearer to immortal youth.
    • Arthur Henry Kenney, p. 439.
  • Age is not all decay; it is the ripening, the swelling of the fresh life within, that withers and bursts the husk.
  • The second childhood of a saint is the early infancy of a happy immortality, as we believe.
  • The years of old age are stalls in the cathedral of life in which for aged men to sit and listen and meditate and be patient till the service is over, and in which they may get themselves ready to say "Amen" at the last, with all their hearts and souls and strength.
  • My God! my time is in Thine hands. Should it please Thee to lengthen my life, and complete, as Thou hast begun, the work of blanching my locks, grant me grace to wear them as a crown of unsullied honor.


  • Age is only a physical phenomenon. I feel I am a 25-year-old trapped in a 50-year-old's body... it's true: the mind is 'willing' but the body is "wane-ing"!!!
    • (PunjaWala MandavGadh)
  • Alonso of Aragon was wont to say in commendation of age, that age appears to be best in four things, —- old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.
  • Growing old is no more than a bad habbit which a busy man has no time to form.
  • I believe the true function of age is memory. I'm recording as fast as I can.
  • I think age is a very high price to pay for maturity.
  • Old age: loss of dignity.
    • Swami Raj
  • The whole business of marshaling one's energies becomes more and more important as one grows older.
  • There are only three ages for women in Hollywood — Babe, District Attorney, and Driving Miss Daisy.
  • To me, old age is always fifteen years older than I am.
  • When a man retires and time is no longer a matter of urgent importance, his colleagues generally present him with a watch.
  • When you become senile, you won't know it.
  • When young we are faithful to individuals, when older we grow loyal to situations and to types.
  • When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it's a sure sign you're getting old.
  • You will become a hypocrite, you'll become a liar. You'll try and paper up your own cracks... and that's what being an adult is all about. Then you have babies and... *shrug* that's it. *long pause* Sorry! (laughs)
  • Your life only tips into old age if regrets begin to outnumber dreams.
    • Peter Baskerville
  • Growing old isn't so bad when you consider the alternative.
    • Maurice Chevalier


  • Age before beauty.
  • Age brings wisdom, but pain brings understanding.
  • To be mature is to accept imperfections
    • Fortune cookie
  • Age is nothing but a number
    • Dove Chocolate Promise Message
  • There are no charms or medicine against old age.
    • Anonymous, quoted in The Journal of Negro History, Edited by Carter G. Woodson, Volume 1 Number 1 (1916)

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:
Look up age in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

Simple English

Old age is when a person is old and near the time when he or she dies. These people are usually retired from work and spend their time in other ways like helping take care of small children who are kin to them in some way. Often people of old age have wrinkly skin. They will move slower, and become constantly cold plus their bones will become a lot weaker.[needs proof] They will start to have many health problems, and take a lot of medicine. The reason for this is that their bodies are slowly deteriorating, so they have more problems, especially with moving. People who are of old age are also called Elders. Elders are considered to be wise because they have had much experience in their long lives. Many cultures view elders with respect and kindness, and depend upon them to pass down knowledge to the younger people.

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