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.)

V. V. FROLKIS

old age

[′ōld ′āj]
(geology)
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 ?
I thought it was pretty manifest that the elderly lady was embarrassed at finding herself in such a conspicuous place arrayed in such cheap apparel; I began to feel sorry for her and troubled about her.
Joseph was an elderly, nay, an old man: very old, perhaps, though hale and sinewy.
Perhaps he was secretly rather flattered by her evident desire for his elderly company.
She is a native of Switzerland, elderly, and a widow.
Lorry had been idle a long time, and had just poured out his last glassful of wine with as complete an appearance of satisfaction as is ever to be found in an elderly gentleman of a fresh complexion who has got to the end of a bottle, when a rattling of wheels came up the narrow street, and rumbled into the inn-yard.
Lord Albemarle, an elderly paralytic gentleman, was now the only advocate of Phileas Fogg left.
Next, moving slowly, with a confused clatter of hoofs on the pavement, rode a party of mounted gentlemen, the central figure being Sir Edmund Andros, elderly, but erect and soldier-like.
And it was all very nice - the large, sunny room; his deep, easy-chair in a bow window, with pillows and a footstool; the quiet, watchful care of the elderly, gentle woman who had borne him five children, and had not, perhaps, lived with him more than five full years out of the thirty or so of their married life.
NEAR sunset that evening an elderly gentleman was standing with his back against the smaller entrance-door of Stoniton jail, saying a few last words to the departing chaplain.
Adam, who was by nature of a more militant disposition than his elderly friend, was glad to see that the conference at once assumed a practical trend.
Two days later Archer had assisted at the comedy of her reinstatement in the van der Luydens' favour, and had said to himself, with a touch of tartness, that a lady who knew how to thank all-powerful elderly gentlemen to such good purpose for a bunch of flowers did not need either the private consolations or the public championship of a young man of his small compass.
With the exception of the aunt, beside whom sat only one elderly lady, who with her thin careworn face was rather out of place in this brilliant society, the whole company had settled into three groups.