old age

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old age:

see geriatricsgeriatrics
, the branch of medicine concerned with conditions and diseases of the aged. Many disabilities in old age are caused by or related to the deterioration of the circulatory system (see arteriosclerosis), e.g.
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old age

the last part of the individual LIFE COURSE, associated with declining faculties, low social worth and detachment from previous social commitments. It is a social construct rather than a biological stage, since its onset and significance vary historically and culturally. See also AGEING, GERONTOLOGY.

Old Age


the period of life that inevitably sets in after middle age and is characterized by significant metabolic, structural, and functional changes in organs and systems that limit the adaptability of the body. Old age is a result of the dynamic process of aging. According to one system of age classification, 75–90 years of age is considered old age, and over 90, advanced old age.

An individual’s physical appearance, work capacity, and mental abilities change with old age, as does the course of many diseases. The skin becomes thinner and less elastic, and wrinkles and pigment spots appear. The hair turns gray and falls out. Visual acuity decreases, and lenticular opacity develops, often resulting in the formation of cataracts. An individual may grow shorter, and curvature of the spine is common. Joint mobility is limited, and bones become fragile and lose calcium. Mental performance declines, and a person becomes more easily fatigued, less able to recall recent events, and subject to sleep disturbances.

Because of their adaptive mechanisms, some old people can maintain a high level of intellectual activity for a long time and remain alert and creative. With old age, organs and tissues are less influenced by neural factors but are more sensitive to humoral influences. Age-related changes in the vascular wall and in protein and lipid metabolism contribute to the progression of atherosclerosis. Changes in digestion may cause vitamin deficiency. The rate of aging and extent of changes in organs and tissues vary with each individual. (For changes that occur with aging on the cellular level and in functional systems see.)


old age

[′ōld ′āj]
The last stage of the erosion cycle in the development of the topography of a region in which erosion has reduced the surface almost to base level and the land forms are marked by simplicity of form and subdued relief. Also known as topographic old age.
References in classic literature ?
The calmness of advanced age gives a solemnity to his manner.
I thought I would never get back to the steamer, and imagined myself living alone and unarmed in the woods to an advanced age.
8] Advanced age is also not a disorder, according to the EEOC, although medical conditions associated with advanced age would be.
In my grandmother's case, it could be argued that, given her diagnosis of terminal renal failure with other complications and advanced age, her quality of life was minimal or below.
Not all those women were old, but in general writing autobiographies was something the women undertook at an advanced age.
The proportion of older adults with the most advanced age is much higher than ever before.
As long as a woman is in good health, most advanced age pregnancies are low risk.
As the present-day photo suggests, the tree's canopy has greatly diminished with advanced age.
If the annuitant is of advanced age when this transfer is done (and thus has a lower life expectancy), the payments to the annuitant could be large and be a serious economic burden for the obligor.
Patients at risk may include those with a history of atherosclerosis, multiple cardiovascular risk factors, advanced age, impaired cardiac output, and/or known or suspected hyperviscosity.
He had been allowed to serve his sentence under house arrest due to his advanced age and poor health.
My staff and I had a daily view of the island, the statue and surrounding area, well remembered by other citizens now of advanced age, who agree that the statue should be moved to its original position, the island rebuilt and the ghastly tent removed.

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