Old age comprises “the later part of life; the period of life after youth and middle age . . . , usually with reference to deterioration”. At what age old age begins cannot be universally defined because it differs according to the context most developed world countries have accepted the chronological age of 65 years as a definition of ‘elderly’ or older person. The United Nations has agreed that 60+ years may be usually denoted as old age and this is the first attempt at an international definition of old age. However, for its study of old age in Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) set 50 as the beginning of old age. At the same time, the WHO recognized that the developing world often defines old age, not by years, but by new roles, loss of previous roles, or inability to make active contributions to society.
Most developed Western countries set the age of 60 to 65 for retirement. Being 60–65 years old is usually a requirement for becoming eligible for senior social programs. However, various countries and societies consider the onset of old age as anywhere from the mid-40s to the 70s. The definitions of old age continue to change especially as life expectancy in developed countries has risen to beyond 80 years old.
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