What is Old?

“Warren Sanderson and Sergei Scherbov suggest that we classify old age by looking closer at the end. Instead of counting the number of years someone has lived (and whether or not they’re at least 65), we can go the other direction and look at the number of expected years left. They recommend the 15-year mark, as shown below.”

—Nathan Yau, “Redefining Old Age.” Flowing Data. August 26, 2020.

Depending on whether you live in the United States and which state you live, average life expectancy is between 75-82 years. If we use this 15 year rule, old age is ages 60-67. I’m not sure how this is an improvement over using 65 years old as a shorthand.

I think the more interesting conversation in aging should center on function, such as living independently, and redefining old age as a state where support is required.