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When do we become "elderly"?

(27 Posts)
graninthemist Thu 29-Oct-15 08:55:40

An article in my newspaper describes a 69 year old lady as "elderly". Does this mean that I, at 67, have a couple more years grace? I may not be in the first flush of youth, but I certainly do not feel old in spite of a few spells in hospital.No wonder ageism is rife. At what age do we really earn this soubriquet?

annsixty Thu 29-Oct-15 09:05:11

I like to think I went from middleaged to old and that was about 75.
I certainly noticed a "dropping off" of health and the things I could do easily at age 70 so I suppose that was my elderly stage. I will see a friend this afternoon and she is a spring chicken at 74.

MamaCaz Thu 29-Oct-15 09:16:25

To be honest, I just thought that most of the time, the word 'elderly' was simply being used as a euphemism for 'old'. How often do you hear a news report that says that something has happened to an 'old' person? It's always an 'elderly' person, isn't it?

But of course, that then leaves the question, "When do we become old?", and the answer to that probably depends largely on the age of the person using the word! While not many of us on here seem to consider ourselves old, I'm sure that a bunch of twenty-somethings would disagree!

Alea Thu 29-Oct-15 09:17:06

When we find that we repeat ourselves grin

rosesarered Thu 29-Oct-15 09:20:02


kittylester Thu 29-Oct-15 09:22:46

grin - it's a sign of getting old!!

Lona Thu 29-Oct-15 09:23:44


loopylou Thu 29-Oct-15 09:25:31

Middle-aged 60?
Elderly/old 80+?
Ancient 90+?

I don't know, but hopefully not just yet! The DCs might beg to differ grin
My parents (89 & 91 reluctantly concede they're 'old', Mum says it's a case of when the mind is willing and the body refuses to cooperate!)

Bellanonna Thu 29-Oct-15 09:37:59

No, you're ok graninthemist. I'm 75 and I'm neither old nor elderly. My DDs agree and the DGCs are too young to comment. I've been talking to myself and repeating myself for years so if that criterion was used one could be old at'50. Enjoy life and don't worry about it !

Bellanonna Thu 29-Oct-15 09:44:14

And stick with the one thread as my non-elderly brain gets easily confused confused

Indinana Thu 29-Oct-15 09:49:20

Much of the official opinion seems to be that 'elderly' is the stage after 'middle aged' and before 'old'. I struggle with this, because for me the term 'elderly' conjures up a very old person, someone who is frail, and who is finding it difficult to cope with the day to day minutiae of life without some outside help.
For some reason 'old' doesn't sound nearly as ancient hmm

annodomini Thu 29-Oct-15 10:19:52

As I've now received my free TV licence, I am regarded officially as 'elderly'. I sometimes feel quite old, but onthe other hand, I don't feel very different in most respects from the way I felt thirty years ago.

trisher Thu 29-Oct-15 10:39:45

I refuse to be either 'elderly' or 'old'! I have decided I am now in 'late middle age'. My DS says 'very late!' I am 70 in December but I am doing what I did at all the other 9numbers- So I shall be 69 and holding for the next 10 years!

Deedaa Thu 29-Oct-15 21:20:57

I thimk that the general rule is that "elderly" is anyone who is at least 15 years older than you.

Granny23 Thu 29-Oct-15 21:48:16

When I retired I did a few modules at the local University and was issued with a student card at the same time as I acquired my bus pass. I discovered that many shops, bars, cinemas and theatres even the swimming pool gave discounts on production of one or other of these cards. I used to show both and ask which one gave the biggest discount. I am happy to be 'elderly' (though I prefer 'senior' as the have it in Canada) when it is to my advantage or gives preferential treatment. My Dad was a life long advocate of 'act daft, go half fare' and I tend to follow in his footsteps. If being elderly gets you discounts, the best seats, help with heavy shopping, free TV licence, don't knock it, just go with the flow. Nothing more boring than being 'middle-aged'.

Galen Thu 29-Oct-15 22:04:29

Have been visiting my 93 year old aunt today, she lives in a residential home as she's a little wobbly on her pins.
She spends very little time in the communal lounge as she 'doesn't want to sit with a crowd of "old people" who've lost their marbles!'
She spends time playing scrabble with younger friends, doing the big telegraph crossword etc.
She is in fact, the oldest resident!

Welshwife Thu 29-Oct-15 22:27:51

I think old or elderly is when you start walking with a stick and all bent over - like the warning signs on the side of the road near a retirement home grin

Galen Thu 29-Oct-15 23:19:36

Hhm!,my aunt walks with one stick! I have to use two crutches!
She's 93, I'm 70!

feetlebaum Thu 29-Oct-15 23:23:59

My doctor told me only this week, that 85 is the onset of being considered 'elderly' in medical circles...

thatbags Fri 30-Oct-15 07:42:54

I think we begin to become elderly when things we used to find easy start seeming, and being, more difficult. In short we become elderly as we age. There is not a single point. It varies from person to person and it is gradual.

So, the fact that I no longer relish and delight in the idea of climbing munros means I have reached a stage of "becoming elderly". Gradually.

Bellanonna Fri 30-Oct-15 08:16:33

feetlebaum. I think your doc is rather unusual. People from 60 onwards are usually put in hospital wards for the elderly and GP surgeries treat their over 70 s as a separate entity, with a dedicated doctor, about which I received a letter. I'm not entirely sure what is meant by this, though, as I thought everyone had their 'own" doctor anyway. I'm surprised your doctor would not consider an 84 year old to be elderly !

GGDaisy Fri 30-Oct-15 08:27:06

My dear old mum used to say, "Call me what you like, just don't call me late for dinner!"
When I see the word "elderly" I am reminded of where the word comes from...elder...and to me that conjures up the image of wise, worldly, caring and comforting.

Call me what you like....

Falconbird Fri 30-Oct-15 08:35:56

When my mum was in a ward for the elderly, there were people who were 55.!!!!!

They weren't very happy about it and neither was I because I was about that age at the time and still thought of myself as quite young.

I think it depends where you live.

I understood that 65 is the medical definition of elderly. 85 is really elderly.

Deedaa Fri 30-Oct-15 22:25:27

My grandmother was very cross when she was put in a ward full of "Old People" she was 92 at the time thlgrin

Charleygirl Sat 31-Oct-15 11:19:40

I think that I will not mind being classed as elderly when I am bed ridden and ga ga.