old age

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An ill-defined age epoch for which euphemisms include retired persons, senior citizens, third age, and golden age. Vital statistics classify age-specific events in 10-year or larger categories, commonly 0 to 14 years, 15 to 44 years, 45 to 64 years, and 65+ years, and in this system, 65+ years is old age. Some geriatricians classify patients into groups each of roughly a decade, in which the “young” old are persons as old as 65 to 70 years who are physically active, mentally alert, and either recently retired or still working; an intermediate group, aged 65 to 74 years, more often have minor impairments and/or disabilities requiring some medication and ongoing medical care; an older group is aged 75 to 84 years; and the final category, the oldest old, are those 85 years of age and older, a majority of whom have become or are becoming dependent on others for assistance with activities required for daily living. See also geriatrics and gerontology.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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