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Some dictionaries describe widespread use of "senior citizen" for people over the age of 65.When defined in an official context, senior citizen is often used for legal or policy-related reasons in determining who is eligible for certain benefits available to the age group.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".Gerontologists have recognized the very different conditions that people experience as they grow older within the years defined as old age.In developed countries, most people in their 60s and early 70s are still fit, active, and able to care for themselves.In addition to chronological age, people can be considered old because of the other dimensions 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.
These discourses take part in a general idea of successful ageing. Morrison concludes, "old age is not for the fainthearted." Based on his survey of old age in history, Georges Minois concludes that "it is clear that always and everywhere youth has been preferred to old age." In western thought, "old age is an evil, an infirmity and a dreary time of preparation for death." Furthermore, death is often preferred over "decrepitude, because death means deliverance." "The problem of the ambiguity of old age has . Old age was reckoned as one of the unanswerable "great mysteries" along with evil, pain, and suffering.