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The age which qualifies for senior citizen status varies widely.
In governmental contexts, it is usually associated with an age at which pensions or medical benefits for the elderly become available.
The AARP allows couples in which one spouse has reached the age of 50 to join, regardless of the age of the other spouse.
The distinguishing characteristics of old age are both physical and mental.
However, for its study of old age in Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) set 50 as the beginning of old age.
At the same time, the WHO recognized that the developing world often defines old age, not by years, but by new roles, loss of previous roles, or inability to make active contributions to society.
Some dictionaries describe widespread use of "senior citizen" for people over the age of 65.
One study distinguishes the young old (60 to 69), the middle old (70 to 79), and the very old (80 ).Especially in less formal contexts, it is often abbreviated as "senior(s)", which is also used as an adjective.In commerce, some businesses offer customers of a certain age a "senior discount".These discourses take part in a general idea of successful ageing. Morrison concludes, "old age is not for the fainthearted." Based on his survey of old age in history, Georges Minois concludes that "it is clear that always and everywhere youth has been preferred to old age." In western thought, "old age is an evil, an infirmity and a dreary time of preparation for death." Furthermore, death is often preferred over "decrepitude, because death means deliverance." "The problem of the ambiguity of old age has . Old age was reckoned as one of the unanswerable "great mysteries" along with evil, pain, and suffering.However, at about age 80, all people experience similar morbidity. The eyes are weak, the ears are deaf, the strength is disappearing because of weariness of the heart and the mouth is silent and cannot speak. "Decrepitude, which shrivels heroes, seemed worse than death." In ancient times, although some strong and healthy people lived until they were over 70 most died before they were 50.
Old age refers to ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings, and is thus the end of the human life cycle.