World Health Organization (WHO) had declared that 65 years old is still considered young. Before, based on the Friendly Societies Act (1875) in Britain, old was defined by age of 50. The UN has not adopted a standard criterion but lately 60 years old was referred as the border age to the word “old”. However the health organization had done a new research recently, according to average health quality and life expectancy, and defined a new criterion that divides human age as follows:

• 0-17 years old: underage • 18-65 years old: youth/young people • 66-79 years old: middle-aged • 80-99 years old: elderly/senior • 100+ years old: long-lived elderly

The anthropological study conducted in the late 1970s based the classification on three main categories, which are: 1) chronology; 2) change in social role (i.e. change in work patterns, adult status of children and menopause); and 3) change in capabilities (i.e. invalid status, senility and change in physical characteristics).

Of all three, the change in social role is the predominant means of defining old age.


Image courtesy brilio.net

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