Moreover, biologists are not in agreement about the existence of an inherent biological cause for aging.
However, in most contemporary Western countries, 60 or 65 is the age of eligibility for retirement and old-age social programs, although many countries and societies regard old age as occurring anywhere from the mid-40s to the 70s.
Therefore, the instances of medical problems associated with aging, such as certain kinds of cancer and heart disease, have increased, giving rise to greater consideration, both in research and in social programs, for accommodating this increase.
Certain aspects of sensory and perceptual skills, muscular strength, and certain kinds of memory tend to diminish with age, rendering older people unsuitable for some activities.
England in 1601 enacted the Poor Law, which recognized the state’s responsibility to the aged, although programs were carried out by local church parishes.
An amendment to this law in 1834 instituted workhouses for the poor and aged, and in 1925 England introduced social insurance for the aged regulated by statistical evaluations.A significant factor in the social aspects of old age concerns the values and education of the generation itself.In industrialized countries especially, where changes occur more rapidly than in agrarian societies, a generation born 65 years ago may find that the dominant mores, expectations, definitions of the quality of life, and roles of older people have changed considerably by the time it reaches old age.Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!For statistical and public administrative purposes, however, old age is frequently defined as 60 or 65 years of age or older. It is the last stage in the life processes of an individual, and it is an age group or generation comprising a segment of the oldest members of a population.The social aspects of old age are influenced by the relationship of the physiological effects of aging and the collective experiences and shared values of that generation to the particular organization of the society in which it exists.Not until the Social Security Act of 1935 was formulated to relieve hardships caused by the Great Depression were the elderly granted old-age pensions.For the most part, these state programs, while alleviating some burdens of aging, still do not bring older people to a level of income comparable to that of younger people.However, the tendency for young people in industrialized countries to be highly mobile has forced older people to decide whether to move to keep up with their families or to remain in neighbourhoods which also change, altering their familiar patterns of activity.Although most older people do live within an hour from their closest child, industrialized societies are faced with formulating programs to accommodate increasing numbers of older people who function independently of their families.