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To wonder when old age starts

(92 Posts)
granniechrissie Sun 09-Feb-20 23:49:40

I (aged 61) recently met up with my cousin (aged 70), I asked him what he was doing these days and he said that he was doing voluntary work helping the aged. My mum (88) is still pretty active, so when does old age start?

Hetty58 Mon 10-Feb-20 00:13:25

When you let it, I suppose (so never, in my case). My Mum, in her eighties, went with her singing group to care homes - to 'Sing to the old folk!'

crazyH Mon 10-Feb-20 00:19:36

You're right Hetty. You are only as old as you want to be. My friend, the ultimate moaner, is 70 but acts like she is 90.

agnurse Mon 10-Feb-20 04:14:33

When we look at it from a medical standpoint, "geriatrics" refers to 65+.

From a personal perspective that may differ. My late great-grandfather refused to go to the local seniors' center. He called it the "Drop Dead Center" and said it was for old guys. He was in his mid-80s.

BlueBelle Mon 10-Feb-20 05:03:05

My friend 83 and me middle 70s went passed an old folks club the other day we both agreed that was for old people and we d not fancy it 😂
I still do nearly as many hours as when I was at work (just don’t get paid)

absent Mon 10-Feb-20 05:44:50

It is possible to admit that you are old when you can still be active, lively and interesting. I am approaching my seventieth birthday and freely describe myself as old – and, of course, to my grandchildren I am ancient, but they still love me. I think elderly applies to those in their mid-eighties and nineties, although it probably depends on the individual's viewpoint as well as their health and well-being. Being old is not a failure and, as Woody Allen famously said, "It's better than the alternative".

travelsafar Mon 10-Feb-20 06:47:14

In my head i am still 45 but my body tells me otherwise. Up till i was 65 i felt fit and healthy then bang!!!
Issues with my spine hit me, the constant pain and all the medical treatment took their toll on me and somedays i feel physcially like an 80 year old and it reflects on how much i can do and my mood. So i guess it makes me feel old somedays. Not even 70 yet but fearful for the future.

M0nica Mon 10-Feb-20 06:49:59

I think there is an assumption implicit in this thread that being 'old' = infirmity and that means that we are guilty of ageism because we, as old people are making that assumption ourselves.

granniechrissie your cousin is working with the old and disabled, or perhaps, just the disabled. What they are not doing is working with the old, without a further descriptor.

As for at what age we are old. I prefer a value free definition based on a life expectancy of 90. 0-29 is young, 30-59 is middle age and 60+ is old.

I am 76. I am old. I am also fit, healthy, leading an active life, doing all sorts of things that younger people do. However I am old. I can never understand why so many people find this an uncomfortable admissin. Do the maths.

Sara65 Mon 10-Feb-20 06:57:04

Apart from odd aches and pains, and the ability to fall asleep anytime of day, I feel pretty much the same as I did 20 years ago, although, I have to admit I don’t look like I looked 20 years ago.

Marydoll Mon 10-Feb-20 06:59:16

Monica, I agree with you. When I was in hospital last year, I questioned a new tablet I was given. Oh we give that to all our elderly patients, said the nurse. I was 63! 😡

I have come across this recently at a number of different hospital appointments, where I have been considered old.

Kandinsky Mon 10-Feb-20 07:09:09

I would describe anyone 75+ as elderly.
But medically I think anyone over 65 is ‘old’ & more vulnerable to illness.

M0nica Mon 10-Feb-20 07:15:11

It is not being considered old, which we are, but all the baggage that we are then loaded with because we are old.

Yes, some older people are frail mentally and physically, and can be from 60, or not until they are 90, but it is the assumption that old age means being incapacitated, unable to deal with modern technology, need to be patronised.

Say 'old' and the non-old immmdiately stoop to you, mentally and physically and assume you have the mental capacity of a 5 year old.

Calendargirl Mon 10-Feb-20 07:18:26

Listening to the News the other night, including the latest on the Corona virus, it stated how ‘the elderly’ were at risk. I looked at my husband and said ‘Do you realise that’s probably us now?’ We are in our late 60’s.

ninathenana Mon 10-Feb-20 07:28:33

agnurse smile I did't realise that at 66 I was officially 'geriatric'
Some days I feel it, some days I feel 10 yrs younger.
DH is 72 in April and still does gardening for 3 others.

Gaunt47 Mon 10-Feb-20 07:34:43

A friend, pregnant for the first time at 39, greatly resented being classed as a geriatric mother!
I thought I must be getting old a few years ago, when I realised I knew very little about a great many things.

Juliet27 Mon 10-Feb-20 07:34:44

All this stormy weather we’ve been having has affected my joints and made me feel 20 years older than I am.

annsixty Mon 10-Feb-20 08:32:52

Until November 2018 I was full time carer for my H who had dementia and other health issues, I had help for half an hour a day to shower and dress him and that was all.
I was 81, he went briefly into care (4 months) before he died when I visited 4 times a week.
I felt tired but not old.
Now 82 I feel very old, it would seem while we have something to do we just carry on but then when it is over we crumble and wonder how we did it.
My family still don’t treat me as if I am old, they still think of me as tough old bird.

vampirequeen Mon 10-Feb-20 08:49:18

I refuse to be old. I'm a WASPI so I'm not officially old anyway. Old suggests you're old, infirm, useless and simply waiting for death. That's definitely not my plan. My cousin is 99. She still travels to France on her own to see her daughter and family. She goes to a rock and roll night once a week and lives life to the full. Yes she's slower that she used to be and her body doesn't always want to do what her brain wants to do but she never lets that stop her living life and having fun.

annsixty Mon 10-Feb-20 09:05:37

I think I am being made to feel old by my body but not in my mind because I am waiting for a hip replacement.
I am mostly housebound as my mobility is so bad.
I hope to feel a new woman afterwards.

timetogo2016 Mon 10-Feb-20 09:12:09

I think it starts when you start thinking about it.
Wish I hadn`t read this post now hehe.

Cabbie21 Mon 10-Feb-20 09:16:23

I am old but I don’t feel elderly. I am involved in lots of things outside my home and village.
I was amused the other day, when visiting my sister in hospital , someone asked if I was her daughter! She is only 18 months older than me but because of life- long mental ill health she looks much older.

Apricity Mon 10-Feb-20 09:25:33

You may wonder when is 'old'. And then you get your new passport photo and you know old is now!

BlueSky Mon 10-Feb-20 09:28:32

Agree with other posters on here, perhaps we'll feel old if dealing with illnesses pain and grief. Otherwise age is just a number!

Greeneyedgirl Mon 10-Feb-20 09:38:51

I completely agree with MOnica. 60+ is old statistically, although we may still be fit and active.

Why do we attach such stigma to the word? Is it fear and something to do with the way we pretend death just happens to others?

Just reclaim the word, embrace reality and think how lucky we are to have reached this age, and hope to have more good years to enjoy life.

Mollygo Mon 10-Feb-20 10:10:45

My OH says old is when you get poo sticks through the post or told you need to renew your driving licence. I think old is when you decide you can’t do things any more because you’re old. I’m trying to avoid that stage.