The realization that you are getting older can come in waves.


You watch movies and point to the actors, saying: “She’s dead. Oh, he’s dead, too.”


Your parents move to a retirement community they call God’s waiting room.


You hear more snap, crackle and pop in your joints than in your breakfast cereal.


In society, youthfulness is glorified and getting older is cast as something to avoid, but as your age increases, your quality of life does not necessarily have to decrease, experts said.


Here’s what you should know:


What is ‘old’?


Most people wouldn’t say that a 38-year-old qualifies, but once you pass the median age of 37.8, you may statistically be considered “old,” said Tom Ludwig, emeritus professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Mich.

多数人不会认为一个38岁的人“老”,但密西根州霍兰的霍普学院(Hope College)的心理学荣休教授汤姆.路德维格(Tom Ludwig)说,一旦越过37.8这个年龄中值,你在统计学意义上就属于“老人”了。

Studies show that people start feeling old in their 60s, and a Pew Research Center survey found that nearly 3,000 respondents said 68 was the average age at which old age begins.

研究显示人们是在过了60岁以后开始觉得老的,皮尤研究中心(Pew Research Center)的一项调查发现,将近3000名受访者认为68岁是进入老年阶段的平均年龄。

Daniel B. Kaplan, an assistant professor of social work at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y., said in an email that living to an advanced age was a relatively recent achievement.

纽约州加登城的阿德尔菲大学(Adelphi University)的社会福利工作助理教授丹尼尔.B.凯普兰(Daniel B. Kaplan)通过一封电邮表示,活到高龄相对来说是人类近期才取得的成就。

“The average human life span gained more years during the 20th century than in all prior millennia combined,” he wrote, adding that the average life expectancy in the United States is 79.1.


“For many people, old age creeps up slowly and sometimes without fanfare or acknowledgment,” he wrote. “While most people enjoy relative continuity over the decades, being able to adapt to the changing context of our lives is the key to success throughout life.”