General Question

cak's avatar

Numerically, at what age do you consider someone old?

Asked by cak (15819points) February 25th, 2009

First, let me say that I don’t think the numerical number is a true indicator of “true age”; however, some people seem to be very hung up on the number. I’ve seen some 50+ seem to think they are old and can’t do things, other 50+ talk about how much more life they have to live – a lot! (I agree)

My mother, 65, is stronger and more active than some 40yr old people I know. She frowns when she is referred to as an “old person” – but agrees that she is getting older.

Where is the line, numerically? What do you consider old?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

88 Answers

adreamofautumn's avatar

I think it changes with your own age. The older you get the further back that number goes.

Jeruba's avatar

I think my brother was old by the time he was about 25. My husband isn’t old yet, and he’s receiving Social Security. I definitely believe that attitude is as much a factor as chronology.

I also think our grandmothers were much older at 50 than we were.

cak's avatar

@adreamofautumn – I do agree that plays into it – some. I think it also depends on our influences. My parents weren’t hung up on numbers – so age, it never was a thing to hide.

I’m 38, my youngest is 5. He declared me to be ancient – yes, he used the word ancient. Gotta love him!

cak's avatar

@Jeruba – I completely agree! Remember when 30 meant you were getting older? 40 was way over the hill? Not anymore!

SuperMouse's avatar

I see old as sort of a moving target, the older I get the “older” old feels to me. For instance, in my 20’s 40 seemed ancient. Now that I have hit and passed 40 my 92 year-old grandfather seems downright youthful. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean, it is all relative depending on one’s own age.

srmorgan's avatar

I am 59 and the threshhold of old keeps getting higher and higher and higher.


cak's avatar

@everyone, I am in the same category in my beliefs. I think it just floors me when I see someone imply they are old, simply by the number. It just escapes me.

Just something I was thinking about! Thanks for the input!

Megan64's avatar

90 sounds old.

cak's avatar

@Megan64 – Yes, actually it does. It sounds like a great number to reach, though! :)

Darwin's avatar

I agree – 90 sounds old. However, if everything still works and you still look forward to each day it might not be as old as it sounds.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i agree with supermouse.
i don’t really consider any age ‘too old’ to do anything, really, but i think old is just a concept we make to make ourselves feel younger anyhow haha.

cak's avatar

@Darwin, I’ve always thought how cool would it be to live into my 90’s, even hundreds. Think of all the changes.

Darwin's avatar

@cak: I certainly hope you do.

A lot of my family has done just that. My parents are in their mid-80’s and still going strong. Well, at least my dad is – since he got his pacemaker he says he feels 10 years younger, but my mom is having problems with her Parkinson’s. All of my great grandmothers made it to age 99, and my two grandmothers made it to 89 and 97.

However, if I can’t get my back to behave better I might not enjoy living that long.

A sort of funny, sort of sad story: a man who worked as one of my volunteers married a woman some years younger than he, and he had a really awful mother-in-law. He had always hoped that eventually she would pass away and so he could have some peace and quiet. She finally did die, at the age of 103, but by then he was 97 and he died about 6 months later. Long life can be a blessing, or it can be a curse, but not necessarily for yourself.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

At 52, I feel about 26, but smarter than I was at 26. If only that stranger in the mirror would quit following me around. Who IS she?

cak's avatar

@Darwin – oh that is terrible, but funny!! This is why I don’t wish people to die…they’ll live forever.

@AlfredaPrufrock – it’s that great person we get to talk to on Fluther! :)

Truly, I have a long way to go. I’m turning 38, I plan on sticking around for a long time.

onesecondregrets's avatar

No one is ever old.
The body just ages.
The mind is a different story.
I’m a 19 year old girl and because of my place of work, I have some friends who are 40, who are 60, whom I have the same type of conversations with, if not better conversations with than people my own age. This makes me feel strange about myself sometimes.
The imagination doesn’t dissipate with age necessarily, or the creativity.
We are all humans, we are all people, we are all real no matter our age.

Darwin's avatar

@onesecondregrets – Hey, what a coincidence! I’m 19, too. I have been for years.

cak's avatar

@onesecondregrets – I think you have a wonderful thing going – having friends of all ages. I think it’s the one thing that I’ve truly enjoyed in my circle of friends. We’re not all in our late 30’s. We’re from the 20’s to the 60’s and I enjoy them all. I think you learn more from each other, having that variety!

cak's avatar

@Darwin – I just lurve you!

onesecondregrets's avatar

@Darwin…can I say your response made me smile really big. As, I totally get that you probably completely understand my logic on this topic. 19 is splendid ain’t it? ;).
@cak…I couldn’t agree more. You really honestly do learn more from each other. Just like you learn more from people of all walks of life- you learn so much from people at different stages (and ages of their lives). You’re a lucky one to have friends of all ages as well! Haha.

Darwin's avatar

@onesecondregrets – Yes, 19 is splendid.

For many years my best friend was a woman who was 50+ years older than I. Until the day she died at 93 she still had bright red hair and swore she was still 25.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Numerically, I will consider myself old at 83. Right now I’m 42 but I actually look and feel like I’m 26 so the numbers really don’t prove anything. You’re only as young as you feel.

cak's avatar

@woo! Blue is all over the board!! I love it!

SuperMouse's avatar

@Bluefreedom long night huh? With midnight approaching and another late night shift looming tomorrow evening, I’m feeling like a bit of an octogenarian myself.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@SuperMouse. I’ll help you get through it. No work for me for the next three days. I’m here for you, my friend. :o)

artificialard's avatar

Yeah I feel like it’s +20 years of however old I am. A few years ago I thought it was people in their 40’s. Now it’s the 50’s.

Johnny_Rambo's avatar

You’re as old as you feel.

Johnny_Rambo's avatar

Like Tony The Tiger says: ” I FEEL GREAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT ” !

RandomMrdan's avatar

if I had to choose a number to represent the beginning of old…I’d say…..73 years old.

Johnny_Rambo's avatar

Its all relative:
Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it will seem like an hour. Sit next to a pretty girl for an hour and it will seem like only a minute. Thats relativity.

Albert Einstein

May2689's avatar

Hmmm 60? No offense, but I think thats the age when your body starts to really slow down… am I wrong?

Strauss's avatar

Age is a state of mind, not an accident of birth.

galileogirl's avatar

@May2689 In a way you are right. There is something about that leading 6 that makes you face reality. In my mind I feel the same way I did when I was 16 (OK I was a pretty mature, self confident and slightly sarcastic 16 yo).

Some of the changes in my 50’s were clear signals that my physical self would never be the same. There were twinges in my 40’s and I couldn’t pick up a 6 yo any more. But when you wake up one morning age 57 and find you can’t control your right arm and leg, there’s no denying things have changed.

When you actually start writing down the 6 (and the checkout girl gives you the senior discount 4 mos early) you understand there is more of everything behind you than there is before you. That is not to say that it is time to put on a shawl and retire to the rocker. Rather in a way life becomes more intense because you realize this isn’t going to last forever. Several of my colleagues plan on retiring in 2011 and the joke is we are down to 5 semesters. When you are a teacher and the year comes down to 5 weeks the time speeds up and before you can think twice, the year is over.

So the 60’s are about doing things right because there won’t be a whole lot of redos and you don’t want to waste time backtracking when you could be experiencing new things. I guess that is what “old” is about.

seekingwolf's avatar

Haha, I remember when I was ~12, and I thought everyone over 30 was “old” haha.

Well, my perspective has changed a lot, and I do like older men. :)

I tend to think that how a person is physically (due to mostly age, not a sickness) and how they are able to function indicates to me how “old” I think they are. I know many women and men in their 70s who I do not think of as “old” because they are fully functioning, independent, and live as if they were in their 40s or even 30s.

However, some, even in their 50s, may start to physically age more quickly, due to whatever reasons, and they don’t function as well. They learn to accept their mortality (hopefully) and may not take certain risks like they once did. Thus, I think of them as old.

Old isn’t really an insult though…it’s more of an observation, or a statement.
People just take it as an insult because our society values youth (yeah, stupid I know) and people are uncomfortable with the idea of death.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I think someone told this guy how old he really was and he just couldn’t handle it.

Judging from that fine bone structure, he’s pretty damn ancient. Old age to him is about 174 years young I would guess.

cyndyh's avatar

I usually think of old as anything older than my parents.

cak's avatar

@cyndyh – lol…that might be a good rule of thumb…depending on how old your parents are!

cak's avatar

@Bluefreedom – ah ‘cmon! He just needs a little moisturizer and he’ll be fine!

DragonFace's avatar

if you look old then your old no matter what

cyndyh's avatar

@cak: My folks are 62 and 64. Those numbers alone don’t seem that old to me, but when I think of someone being older than my parents that just seems old somehow. I know several individuals who are older than this but don’t seem old to me until I hear the number. Somehow my grandma, at 79, never seems old to me, though. Go figure.

ubersiren's avatar

I can’t answer numerically, because people too often don’t look their age. But, I think it’s when you see someone and he/she strikes you as old. If that initial gut feeling is, “Damn that dude is ooooold!” then, he’s probably old.

Maybe 90?

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Numerically, I guess I’d have to say the 80’s. Because anymore, people are living longer & the number just keeps creeping up. The bottom line is that you’re just as old as you feel. Thankfully, I don’t think I’m going to be old for a long time.

Darwin's avatar

My parents are both 83, but my dad is about 10 to 15 years younger than my mom. It’s no one’s fault – she just got the short straw when it comes to physical ailments.

For years people thought she was about 10 years younger than he, or possibly even younger than that since several folks thought she was my big sister when I was in high school.

“God bless you on your birthday
Let the celebrations start
Enjoy life’s oh so precious gifts
And remain young at heart.

For age is just a state of mind
And life can be such fun
And you still know how to party
As much as anyone.

Don’t modify your language
Don’t rebel and cause outrage
Decide to do the decent thing -
Just lie about your age.”

Bri_L's avatar

@Triiiple – you doth wound me greatly this day.

wundayatta's avatar

Whatever it is, it’s older than I am, and always will be.

well, maybe if I hit 100, I’ll give in on that

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@daloon keep on truckin’ & grinnin’.... :-)

frigate1985's avatar

Hmmm…I really havnt given much thought to this before…(Im gonna turn 15 this year for crying out loud! :)) But I think 50 is when you start to get old. My dad is 50 now and he sleeps at midnight nowadays…he used to sleep at like 3 A.M. 3 years ago and now he’s all tired and sleepy…I’m so afraid that he might die soon…I sometimes cry over it too. But I think Ill try my best to hide my anxiety.

Darwin's avatar

@frigate1985 – if going to bed at midnight is bad, then I am doomed. I go to bed at 10, when I can (which isn’t often).

But then, I fall asleep in church, which upsets my kids no end. They claim my snoring interrupts the sermon.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

20 years my senior. As for people under 30, Well, they all seems so young to me now. Funny how that is.

frigate1985's avatar

@Darwin lol I’m just damm worried…Maybe you’re a morning person?

Johnny_Rambo's avatar

Cruising by the old High School and hitting on young chicks is pretty ridiculous after 30….or is that 21 ?

Darwin's avatar

@frigate1985 – I wasn’t when I was in college (and I would rather not be now).

Why would you be so worried if your dad is only 50? Does he have some other health condition that you aren’t talking about? According to all the life insurance companies he should have at least another twenty years or so left.

frigate1985's avatar

Well, I usually sleep around 3–5 am and dad used to stay up till then but seeing him sleeping at 12 kind of makes me nervous…

frigate1985's avatar

Well, I suppose I shouldn’t worry much…thanks Darwin

seekingwolf's avatar


It’s okay, my dad is 50 too.

He used to have more black in his black and white speckled hair, but now it’s turning more white. He’s always pulling his muscles, having backpain…etc. I think his immune system is winding down because he got Whooping Cough two years ago and he was sick for AGES.

It’s natural to be worried about your parent’s health as they age. It’s part of life. Luckily, as long as your father keeps healthy (exercise, eating okay, no smoking, going to the dr, etc.) then he should be okay. Don’t stress yourself out about it okay? There’s lots of time for that later when they are older and actually need our help. :)

Just enjoy your time with your father.

Grisson's avatar

3 (in honor of James Kunen)

dragonflyfaith's avatar


And I go to bed at like 9 these days. Then again, I’m also up through out the night.

90s_kid's avatar

Right off the bat I knew this would be a popular question. GQ. :)
Anyways, I do not like considering people old, I say it is mean because some of the bset people are old.
Wait a second….

laureth's avatar

When I was 20something, I worked at a grocery store with a bunch of other 20somethings. We all cashiered. And every day or two, the cashiers would get hit on by some “creepy old guy in his 40s.” The young women were all, “Why is he hitting on us? He’s aaaaaancient! He needs to find someone his own age!”

Now as I’m taking a long approach to 40, I can almost understand where the “ancient guys” are coming from. I don’t really feel all that different from how I felt at 20 (or more like 25), it’s just the body and society’s perspective on you that changes. In other words, the guy probably felt all hot ‘n stuff, and thought he could still chat up a cute young thing.

frigate1985's avatar

Oh my, why does everybody get so gloomy when they turn 40? I mean just look at the replies! Can’t understand it. Doesn’t people kind of respect you when you grow old?

cak's avatar

I look at one of my neighbors. Spitfire is an accurate description of her. She’s awesome. At 72, she drives a convertible, dates a wonderful man – but won’t get married and is heavily involved in the community. THAT (well, I hope to still be married!) is how I want to be. :)

cak's avatar

@frigate1985 – I’m getting close to 38. I have a friend that is (technically) a year and a half younger than I am, she still claims to be 29. I find it silly, but I did tell her she needed to turn 30, this year. Some people get so wrapped up in the number, that they really don’t get it that it’s more of how you feel and what you want to do with your life.

Sure, as we age, things hurt a little more (it hurts a lot more when I fall ice skating now, than before!) and our bodies do start to slow down- but mentally, if you keep yourself going, that’s half the battle.

I don’t get it either!

galileogirl's avatar

@cak She refuses to get married? What about the children? lol

cak's avatar

@galileogirl—lol!! Scandalous!

skfinkel's avatar

I think you define old for yourself. I can see how you get old if something doesn’t feel right, and can’t get better. But, so many things can be fixed now that the definition of old really has changed. I have a friend who is 100, still sharp as a pin, but he is beginning to lose his hearing, and his eyesight isn’t so good. I think he is old.

alive's avatar

50, maybe 60. but there are some bad ass 50 and 60 year olds (and beyond of course)!

dragonflyfaith's avatar

@alive When I was a kid I thought 50 meant little old ladies with the short roller pin blue hair and the floral print shirts with peach polyester pants. However, now that my own mother is in her 50’s, my idea of 50 has completely changed. She looks 40 and acts 15.

steelmarket's avatar

dang bunch of quippersnappers

galileogirl's avatar

Actually my grandmother at 50 had blued hair and a complexton like a crushed flower petal. Her life revolved around bridge, husband and grandchildren. Women who grew up before the Depression aged a lot faster than many of today’s grandmas.

Darwin's avatar

@galileogirl – Some of the women who grew up before the Depression aged a lot faster, but not all of them. My grandmother (who married in 1921 in full flapper regalia) was active well into her eighties, and actually wanted to take up skydiving when she was 70. We talked her out of it because no one would insure her even for injury and that upset the various skydiving groups she would have joined. Instead she became a swimming coach for Special Olympics.

And then there was my red-headed, cigar-smoking great grandmother from the other side of the family, but she was one of a kind. Her children banned her from sliding down the stair rails once she hit 90 (but she still did it from time to time).

galileogirl's avatar

Darwin-My grandmother, who was born in 1896 had a relatively easy life. She came from a middle class life, married a professional man and while there were ups and downs she never wanted for any necessities. Pictures show her at the time of her marriage as a sweetly pretty young girl. But by the time she reached her late 40’s she had the looks and mannerisms of Margaret DuMont…and stayed that way for 40 years.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

50 really is a lot younger than it used to be. That and the closer you get to it…

scamp's avatar

In September I will celebrate my 32nd birthday….for the 20th time!

My back injury from 20 some years ago and the arthritis that stemmed from it makes me feel older than my years sometimes. I now know what approaching old age feels like, and I’m not sure I want to go there! But the 50’s are definitely different now than they were even in my Mother’s generation. I consider anyone over 70 old.

The definition of getting old is: When your brain makes a promise that your body can’t keep!!

LouisianaGirl's avatar

120 years old!!! You are one of my Best Fluther friends and you are just like a person my age

LouisianaGirl's avatar

No ummmm… 18,497,590,264,798,234,893,462,508,134,578,934 years old

desiree333's avatar

60 years old is when i consider someone to be old, 50–55 is the age that reminds me of julianne moore, aging but not quite “old” yet, after that your old.

Darwin's avatar

“The definition of getting old is: When your brain makes a promise that your body can’t keep!!”

As the classic klutz, I must have been old since birth if this is the correct definition. I prefer “You are only as old as you think you are,” and my husband’s philosophy, developed while playing many years of football: “If you wake up and something hurts you know you’re not dead!”

With that said, beginning when I was in my late thirties my best friend was 50 years older than I, but she never really got “old” until she got past 90.

MissA's avatar

Age is relative to many things.

As for me, I want to live until that time when I am a burden unto others. My heart and mind would not be happy then…unless I had some deficiency that would prevent me from knowing. Those I love, know my wishes.

Strauss's avatar

60 is the new 30

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Compared to Paul Ryan:

Joe Biden.

Ron_C's avatar

Old people are anyone 5 years older than me.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther