National Senior Citizens Day – Aug. 21

When Do You Become a Senior Citizen?

Today is National Senior Citizens Day and with more and more Baby Boomers turning 65 each year, the question of when you become a senior citizen is a topic of great interest.
About half of people age 64 responding to a Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey in 2010 said the term “senior citizen” does not apply to them because they don’t “feel” like a senior.  Instead they describe themselves as still being active and young at heart.
In the same survey, 96 percent of 50-year-olds rejected the term and the 64-year-olds who embraced the term did so primarily for economic reasons, because they are now eligible for senior discounts.
Interestingly, when asked to pinpoint when “old age” begins, both the oldest and youngest Boomers selected ages well beyond them. The youngest boomers said a person becomes old at age 78, while the oldest boomers said old age begins at 80.

So what does the term “senior citizen” mean, and when exactly does an individual become one?

The term first was coined during a 1938 political campaign as a euphemism for “old person,” and now enjoys widespread usage in the common vernacular, legislation, and business. Some dictionaries define “senior citizen” as a person over the age of 65. In everyday speech, the term is often shortened to “senior.”
In legislation, the term applies to the age at which pensions, social security or medical benefits for the elderly become available.  In this country, traditionally you are eligible to retire with full Social Security benefits at age 66. Additionally, you can retire early at age 62 and receive a portion of – but not full – retirement benefits.  Because of increases in average life expectancy and stresses on the federal budget, however, Congress has passed legislation to gradually increase the full retirement age from 66 to 67 by 2027.
Many federally and state-funded programs also qualify individuals based on age. For example, Area Agencies on Aging across the state provide home-delivered meals and congregate meals to senior centers and apartment communities.  To participate, an individual must be at least 60 years of age or the spouse of someone 60 years of age.  In business applications, the term “senior” often is applied to special discounts and customer loyalty programs which vary by age and store.

“I truly enjoy working with folks over 65.  It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had!”

Educating people on Medicare and how it works gives me the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives. Medicare is so complicated and causes so much anxiety for some folks.  I am able to put them at ease and help them make sense of their choices.  It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.  My goal has always been to help people and I have found great joy in being able to offer my services to people who need my help.
I also learn a lot from my clients! They have a wealth of knowledge to share and I enjoy hearing their stories.  It’s like going for a ride on a hidden time machine, taking me back to a simpler era and I’m always fascinated with the things I discover.
Whether you consider yourself a senior citizen or not you can celebrate National Senior Citizens Day today by spending time with one that you know, which may be your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors or friends. Let them know that they are special, appreciated and loved.  It may also be a good day to volunteer at a retirement home and share your smile with those who may not otherwise get a visitor today.
I hope you enjoy your day!