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 by 2060, 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 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.
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.
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.
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 elderly individuals 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.
When it comes to retirement plans, the IRS appears to think that one becomes a senior citizen between the ages 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.
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 in 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.
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 free college classes. Taking the time to research these aspects can save seniors a great deal of money in the long term.
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.
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.
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-yields 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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.