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 periodicals archive ?
It is very important to reinvigorate the interest of the elderly people in their lives and make them feel that they are responsible for us, even at this age," Qahtani added.
Instead considering themselves as useless creatures and retired persons, elderly people should continue to work, engage themselves in social welfare, solve puzzles, read and write regularly and have both physical and mental exercises to remain fit.
A census-analysis on Long-Term Institutions for the Elderly (LTIEs) in Brazil developed by the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) identified 3,549 homes with approximately 84,000 elderly people.
Elderly people who had received a formal education also reported a good quality of life.
A lack of interaction and financial support and a reluctance to visit are all complaints elderly people have made to police about family members.
Elderly people are the best teachers we can ever hope to have and we do not listen; their life experiences can help us avoid our mistakes before we make them, but we do not listen.
The man has also tried to befriend and take financial advantage of the vulnerable and elderly people he has encountered.
As a result, the East Durham Positive Inclusion Partnership, which supports frail, elderly people and young people in vulnerable families, is closing down because of a lack of funding from the local authority.
SIR - In reply to a recent letter to the First Minister Carwyn Jones, I was disappointedly informed that the newly enacted Welsh Government Social-Services and Well-Being Bill will not encompass elderly people threatened with eviction from their care homes.
The participation aims at recognising the contribution of the elderly people in building of their societies during their prime.
This is why pharmacies for elderly people should appear, which will have low prices for medicines," the local council member added.
This signifies that there will be more elderly people in the world than children.