What Age Is Considered Senior Citizen?

Often, most people wonder what age is considered elderly. Strictly speaking, there is no official numerical figure to define the senior age in the United States. However, to give the word "senior" definition, a Dell Webb survey on senior citizen age found that 96% of 50-year-olds don't consider themselves a senior citizen, with only 56% of 64-year-olds claiming that the term "senior citizen" applies to them.

Many people may not use the term "senior citizen" because they don't feel like a senior or aren't eligible for senior benefits, like health care, yet. Similarly, someone may not consider themselves an elderly person if they still feel at the peak of health.

On the other hand, some self-proclaimed seniors acknowledge the senior citizen discounts that they receive, including premium-free Medicare at 65 years of age.

With the improvements in life expectancy through the years, legislation has also moved the age requirement for full senior citizen social security benefits from 65 to 67, which has helped define senior citizen ages. In addition, census predictions demonstrate that the senior population will double in size, from 46 million in 2014 to 98 million in 2060.

As a result, there are different definitions for what age is considered senior citizen.

When Is Someone Considered Old?

Due to the increase in life expectancy across the world, the time when we consider someone as an old person is also changing. In general, individuals are viewed as old at 70 for men and 73 for women, according to research. However, a decade ago, you were usually considered old when you reached the age of 59. 

The consequences of this shift are plenty. For instance, longer life means that older adults encounter more health issues. Therefore, health care costs become higher as well. 

However, age is just a number and although younger people tend to be more fixated on the aging process as a whole, most people gradually come to embrace their golden years and counter the negative stereotypes associated with aging. 

Chronological Age

One way to determine the age of an adult is by looking at chronological age, or the number of years that have passed since they were born. On the other hand, this can be tricky because senior citizen discounts vary depending on where you live along with retirement age. Because of this, old age can be anywhere between 50 and 70. 

Social Role

Age is considered by other factors such as social role. This includes things like when an individual chooses to retire from their job, when they start receiving senior benefits, or when their children choose to have their own children. However, this age definition is also quite flexible since people can choose when to retire or create their own offspring. 

Older people also play a special role in society. Common examples include assisting their children, taking on care responsibilities, volunteering in the community, and more. Research also suggests that a community of older adults would lead to lower criminal activity in their area, greater political participation, and improved visual perception. 

Physical Health Or Appearance

Another way to judge the age of an older adult is by their physical health or appearance. Some people would use the world elderly to describe someone who has signs of aging, including grey hair, wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots, or illnesses related to the aging process.

This can include things like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, impaired balance, memory loss, and other physical and cognitive declines that are part of getting older. However, these negative connotations can be viewed as ageist since even younger individuals may show signs of aging or have similar health issues as older individuals.

In addition, with the increase in life expectancy, society’s view on aging should also be tied to the current context compared to historical notions of aging. Compared to only a few decades ago, people are living much longer so it’s important to change these outdated beliefs. 

Perks and Services for A Senior Citizen

When a person becomes a senior citizen, there are many different perks they can enjoy. For instance, senior living comes with more affordable healthcare, and they'll get to gain access to a wide range of senior citizen-exclusive services.

Some perks and services that senior citizens can look forward to includes discounts from retail shops, restaurants, airline companies, hotels, and more. Many seniors may also receive preferential treatment by being able to skip long lines at airports, receive freebies, and experience other travel benefits as an older person. 

It might not seem like it at first, but the number of work-related perks, government assistance programs, and senior citizen services the elderly can get at this "old" stage of life is definitely something to look forward to. Ultimately, age is just a number. 

AARP and Senior Associations

At the age of 50, you're considered a senior to the AARP. Even though you may not be part of the retirement community, you can become a member of the AARP as an American citizen and get access to every senior discount available.

At this time, your age qualifies you for several different perks. From insurance, care, travel, shopping, finance, and more, the number of offered benefits is quite impressive. Members also receive a free subscription to AARP's bi-monthly publication. This covers a broad range of topics, including health, finance, and travel.

Other organization alternatives include the American Seniors Association and Association of Mature American Citizens, which also have a minimum age requirement of 50.

Health Insurance For Elderly People

Older adults who have poor health more likely require medical treatment. Investing in health insurance can help cover most if not all of these costs. The best senior health care options include private and public programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veteran’s Administration. 

Medicare is a program designed for the majority of senior citizens over 65 who have worked on a full time basis for at least 10 years. It is paid for by a variety of sources including monthly premiums of those enrolled, the government, and a 2.9% for all employees. 

Medicaid is a type of health insurance partially funded by the government and run by certain states. It is designed for low-income individuals including the elderly. Moreover, it can cover for some costs associated with aging, such as skilled nursing at home, hospice care, and nursing home care.

Lastly, there are private health insurance policies that can cover senior aged care costs. These can be paid for by employees or individuals. However, most seniors can no longer make use of these care policies when they retire. On the other hand, they may also make use of a pension or union plan to cover geriatric care costs. 

Healthcare Benefits

Depending on your age and qualifications, senior citizens can be qualified for specific enrollment options from Medicare & Medicaid, including those that can save the elderly some money. These can also help a number of people cover out-of-pocket costs for prescription drug plans and other related programs.

Home and Community-Based Services, Health Insurance, and Institutional Long-Term Care are some of the health care benefits that seniors can get under the Medicare Savings Programs.

Because it can be confusing to navigate for those who are of senior citizen age, The Eldercare Locator and The National Council on Aging's BenefitsCheckUp are two useful resources that provide health-related support and care for seniors.

Pets For People Considered Elderly

For elderly individuals that live independently, having a pet as a companion can provide many benefits. Something to keep in mind is that different pets require different levels of care and may have varying energy levels. The financial commitment required should also be considered before investing in a pet for your golden years.

Senior citizens tend to prefer pets that don’t need a lot of space, and require excessive grooming or exercise. This can include fish, smaller birds, smaller dog breeds, and cats. The type of pet that older adults would want to have is highly unique to their personal needs and preferences, so it’s best to do plenty of research and visit reputable breeders before coming to a final decision. 

Living Situations for An Elderly

For the elderly, growing older comes with greater life challenges year after year. Old age can lead to mobility issues, which can make it difficult to navigate around one's home. Others might become isolated depending on the number of years they've lived alone.

Some senior-appropriate options include aging in place (staying home as you age), independent living designed for those aged 55 and over in a senior community, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home.

A person of retirement age may find that independent living suits them if they can obtain care from a loved one or trusted professional. There is no need to move out if you're surrounded by people who can help you with household chores and the like.

On the other hand, someone may find that retirement living works better if they need a structured environment with group activities and meals provided on a regular schedule. Being surrounded by like-minded elderly individuals may also make a living in a senior home or community a more viable choice.

Before deciding on what type of senior living suits your lifestyle, you should think deeply about the following factors:

  • The need for physical and medical care
  • The location and accessibility to forms of transportation
  • The level of home care and maintenance required
  • The social and emotional needs
  • The financial capacity

Senior Housing

While the age terminology of "senior citizen" is murky, at these ages, it might be time to consider whether you need to live in a retirement home. Senior living comes with added costs but can also make someone feel a greater sense of community in terms of living.

To help an elderly person find senior housing, retirement communities, and independent living options, the federal government's Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA) preserves housing specifically designed to meet the needs of senior citizens in their senior life. Specific housing is intended and operated for persons 55 years of age and older.

One of the benefits of living in a HOPA community is that it makes it easier for someone to find others in a similar age bracket, which many seniors can struggle with if they live alone.

Retirement Plans

When it comes to retirement plans, the IRS appears to think that one becomes a senior citizen between the ages of 59½ to 70½.

In general, if you make an early withdrawal from your pension plan, IRA, or 401k before the age of 59½, you'll have to pay a 10% penalty tax. If you are part of the retirement community, you can withdraw from your account after 59½. If you're 70½ years old, you need to start making withdrawals from your account.

There are recommended steps to take by the IRS, whether you're aged 65 or older, which are outlined in their table on retirement planning on an age-by-age basis for seniors.

Embracing The Golden Years For A Senior

When you reach senior citizen age, it's time to make the most of the number of years you have left and prioritize your health and social life. With a variety of investment opportunities, living options, age-appropriate hobbies, and more, it's important to take key steps to stay healthy and live longer.

This can include joining a retirement community to meet friends of a similar age, taking up a new sport, or traveling the world with greater financial freedom. You’ll soon come to see that being considered elderly isn’t always a bad thing since keeping busy and having fun will make you feel younger in the long run. 

A person who takes the time to surround themselves with people their own age and pursue many social activities for seniors is more likely to enjoy their retirement and maximize their average life expectancy. 

Investments For Older People

If you still haven't looked into investment opportunities for seniors, it's way past time to do so. However, before investing your hard-earned money or retirement savings, it's important to consider your appetite for risk and what may or may not work in your best interests.

If your goal is to maintain your capital and gain a steady flow of interest, consider the following low-risk investment options.

High-yield savings accounts, savings bonds, certificates of deposit, and corporate bonds are some great options for senior citizens aiming for retirement.

For others, higher-risk opportunities such as cryptocurrency assets, hedge funds, and crowdfunding may be the more appealing option given their higher rates of return.

While low-risk investments might take longer, they can become better options in the long run for seniors who aim to make their savings last.

It's important to note that health insurance and Medicare may not cover all the costs for the elderly, so having an emergency fund may come in handy in the future.

Things Retirees Should Never Do

As people get older, they may start to feel the years catch up to them as they age. This may make someone want to stay at home or retire from a stressful career.

Unfortunately, a recent study conducted by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that some people, including those who are 75-year-olds and over, are more susceptible to making more financial mistakes due to a decline in cognition.

When you think about the aging process, someone who has lived a longer life might have more wisdom than a person that's more youthful in comparison. However, they could make routine mistakes, including forgetting to pay bills on time or becoming a victim of fraud.

Illnesses such as dementia can worsen these problems for many seniors. The study also discovered that seniors are often, more likely than younger people, to fall for fraudulent investment schemes. Nearly one in six seniors reported that they had lost money due to fraud.

As a result, older people should take special care when it comes to investing their savings and reading the fine print. Anything that sounds too good to be true often probably is.

Communities, Clubs, and Hobbies for a Senior

Many people care about what they'll do with their free time when they reach a certain age. However, a person can still have fun and live their life, especially in a vibrant retirement community.

A social person should have no problem making friends of their own age, especially as many older individuals can live more comfortably once they retire.

More often than not, joining a community with others who share your same interests can help you find new passions when you retire. Book clubs, painting classes, ballroom dancing, drama groups, tai chi, yoga, gardening, and meditation are just a few of the hobbies and clubs that the elderly can enjoy.

At a more advanced age, keeping your mind sharp is the secret to getting even older and wiser than you currently are. Don't forget fun outdoor activities like nature trail walks, picnics, visits to the park, and more.

Just because someone is old doesn't mean that they can't be a tech-savvy person. There are plenty of reputable online communities that an older person can join to find like-minded friends with niche interests.

Lastly, practice online safety no matter how much life experience you have!

Travel Discounts and Other Financial Perks

In a later stage of life, senior retired persons can take time off to live their lives and travel extensively throughout the year. Many seniors unknowingly have access to cheaper train and bus tickets, airline flight discounts, hotel discounts, all-inclusive cruise travel, and more to get the rest and relaxation they need to maximize their physical health.

For instance, hotel discounts are extremely popular for the elderly who might long for a more luxurious experience, which is truly well-suited for their advanced age.

Other financial perks for the elderly include social security benefits, extra tax deductions, bigger retirement account limits, and even other financial perks for the elderly. Taking the time to research these aspects can save seniors a great deal of money in the long term.

Getting to Know Age Terminology

There are several commonly accepted terms that are used to refer to an old person. While some of them have fallen out of favor or popularity, they carry different connotations and tend to be used in different contexts. 


Senior is one of the most common terms used to define an old person and is used in everyday conversation. Traditionally speaking, it can signify experience and prestige in the workforce but it may be interpreted in a negative context. It is also used to refer to high school students in their fourth year of schooling. 

Senior Citizen

Senior citizen usually refers to an older person that has already retired from the workforce and receives a pension or benefits. This definition is usually quite clear since there are signs that point towards this senior citizen age definition. This includes qualifying at the age of 65 for Medicare, getting Social Security benefits between the ages of 62 and 70, and gaining discounts at establishments for those who are 55 or more. 


The elderly age definition is often linked with the negative stigmas that accompany age, such as poor mobility, weakness, and frailty. Most older people don’t voluntarily classify themselves as elderly individuals since they don’t really think that it applies to them. Despite this, the word is often used in everyday conversation to refer to those of retirement age. 


Often, old age refers to those who are beyond middle aged. It is usually used to refer to people over the age of 65. Moreover, “old” is another common term used to define an older adult, although young people may also view it negatively. This is because calling someone an “old person” may not necessarily be polite and some actively avoid the label.

For instance, the beauty industry emphasizes the use of anti-aging products to erase signs of physical aging such as grey hair, wrinkles, sunspots, dryness, and uneven skin tone. 


Geriatric is a term referring to a specific branch of medicine for older adults. However, it can be very offensive to call a senior geriatric since it indicates they are very vulnerable to chronic disease and have an otherwise poor health status. Typically, most seniors will not need geriatric care until they reach the age of 70, 75, or 80.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is senior citizen day?

The one day that seniors get to celebrate their relatively old age is the 21st of August every year. It's a fantastic day to show someone you care by visiting local nursing homes, volunteering for projects that benefit the elderly, or taking advantage of special discounts geared towards seniors.

What is a normal heart rate for a senior citizen?

The average heart rate for an older person is between 60 to 100 beats per minute. Seniors and other people who are vulnerable to heart disease should consider investing in health insurance to provide stable and affordable care.

Is the age 55 considered a senior citizen?

Often, 55 years old is old enough to be a senior when it comes to the eyes of businesses and organizations. However, this figure can vary depending on current legislation. Alternatively, some people in their 60s ask, "Is 62 years old considered elderly?" – and the answer is the same.

How much money can a senior citizen make?

At retirement age, a senior citizen can make some money on the side if they're after some extra income. Making wise investments can also help you build your nest egg when you retire, so this figure can vary depending on your lifestyle.

How can you dress like a senior citizen?

At 65 years and older, you can dress appropriately by wearing clothes that are comfortable and easy to move in. Make sure that your outfit is weather-appropriate, which is important especially if the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse. Elderly adaptive clothing is specially designed for the specific challenges that senior citizens face.

Additional Resources for Senior Citizens

For senior citizens and their families who are looking for additional assistance, here are some useful links to use as reference:

While there is still much debate on the topic of "what age is considered senior citizen," there is no doubt that if you want to get to a ripe old age and live longer, staying active, keeping track of your finances, and making sure that your living situation is best for you is the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For the latest in mobility equipment, bathroom safety products, bed aids, and adaptive clothing, feel free to check out our eCommerce review community at Senior Strong.

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