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In his Ethics, he wrote that "old people are miserly; they do not acknowledge disinterested friendship; only seeking for what can satisfy their selfish needs." For Thomas More, on the island of Utopia, when people are so old as to have "out-lived themselves" and are terminally ill, in pain, and a burden to everyone, the priests exhort them about choosing to die.The priests assure them that "they shall be happy after death." If they choose to die, they end their lives by starvation or by taking opium.

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Old age comprises "the later part of life; the period of life after youth and middle age . However, for its study of old age in Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) set 55 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.

Old age refers to ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings, and is thus the end of the human life cycle.

Terms and euphemisms include old people (worldwide usage), seniors (American usage), senior citizens (British and American usages), older adults (in the social sciences), the elderly, and elders (in many cultures—including the cultures of aboriginal people).

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.

Other writers treat the perceptions of middle-age people regarding their own old age. Studies find that many people in the 55–75 range can postpone morbidity by practicing healthy lifestyles. Minois comments that the scribe's "cry shows that nothing has changed in the drama of decrepitude between the age of the Pharaoh and the atomic age" and "expresses all the anguish of old people in the past and the present". been with us since the stage of primitive society; it was both the source of wisdom and of infirmity, experience and decrepitude, of prestige and suffering." "Beauty and strength" were esteemed and old age was viewed as defiling and ugly.

These discourses take part in a general idea of successful ageing. Lillian Rubin, active in her 80s as an author, sociologist, and psychotherapist, opens her book 60 on Up: The Truth about Aging in America with "getting old sucks. Rubin contrasts the "real old age" with the "rosy pictures" painted by middle-age writers. Morrison delineates the heroism required by old age: to live through the disintegration of one's own body or that of someone you love. Old age was reckoned as one of the unanswerable "great mysteries" along with evil, pain, and suffering.

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".

In contrast, perceptions of old age by writers 80 years old (old age in the real meaning of the term O Sovereign my Lord! In contrast, those who were frail were seen as a burden and ignored or in extreme cases killed.

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