What Do You Call Old Folks?

Old age is a basic fact of life that everyone has to experience at some point. Throughout history, people have had different names for the elderly, such as seniors, elderly people, or retirees. As society and culture evolve, so do the terms we use to refer to those in their later years. In this article, we will explore the different terminologies used to describe old folks.


Seniors are people who have reached an age that is considered “old” or “elderly,” usually around 65 years or older. Seniors have completed their full-time employment or have retired from it, and they may receive pensions or social security benefits. They are also often referred to as “senior citizens” or simply “citizens”.


Retirees are individuals who have retired from their profession or job. They may have saved enough money to be financially secure during their retirement years. They tend to have a lot of free time on their hands, which they can use to explore hobbies or hobbies they never had time for during their working years.

Golden Agers

The term “Golden Ager” was commonly used in the past to describe people aged 65 years and over. However, this term is no longer widely used in modern times. The term was established in the 1930s when President Franklin Roosevelt launched the Golden Age Club, which promoted government support for senior citizens.

Elderly People

Elderly people are generally aged 65 years and above. The term “elderly” is not always favored among seniors, as it may imply frailty, sickness, or dependency. Nonetheless, it is a common descriptor used to refer to people in their later years.


Geriatric is a term used to describe the care of aging individuals, especially those with medical conditions. A specialist in geriatric medicine is referred to as a geriatrician. Geriatrician provides older adults with medical services that cater to their particular needs.


The term ‘ageing’ is often used to refer to the process of getting older. When we get older, our physical, biological, and emotional changes occur. Many people associate the elderly with frailty and weakness, but ageing doesn’t have to bring about such a downturn in health.

Silver Set

Silver Set generally refers to people over the age of 50. This term is more commonly used in marketing industries to target older adults with specific products and services, like financial services, health services, and luxury vacations.

Ripe Agers

Ripe agers are people above the age of 50 who are healthy, wealthy, and independent. This term is closely associated with the aging Baby Boomer generation, who tend to have more robust health, greater educational attainment, and more disposable income than previous generations.

Third Agers

The Third Age is another term used to describe people over the age of 50. This term was developed in the 1970s by distinguished sociologist Peter Laslett. The Third Age is distinguished by leisure, enrichment, and personal satisfaction, rather than paid work.


Ageless is a term used to describe people who reveal no visible age or are impossible to determine their age by looking at their appearance or behavior. Among the elderly, this may indicate a healthy, active lifestyle that has preserved physical faculties and mental clarity, making them feel timeless.

Forever Young

Forever young is a common phrase used by the youth to indicate a person with an everlasting youthful spirit which transcends age. Generally, people who remain young at heart and energetic, have a positive outlook on life and a willingness to embrace new experiences are considered Forever Young, Regardless of their age.


Timeless describes people who have a look, demeanor, or style that seems to be from a different, earlier era. Timelessness is often associated with people who have accrued great achievements or accomplishments and have contributed to a particular field or industry over time.

Frequently Asked Questions About Terminologies Used for Older People

  • 1. What are old people called?
  • Old people are referred to by various terms, for example, seniors, elderly people, retirees or geriatrics, among others.
  • 2. What is the most politically correct term for older people?
  • There is no unique politically correct term that everyone approves of. Still, using “seniors” or “older adults” is increasingly becoming the standard terminology.
  • 3. Can we use the term “elderly” to describe older people?
  • Yes, it is acceptable to use the term elderly, as long as it is not used derogatorily to insult or discriminate against older people.
  • 4. What is the silver tsunami in the context of the aged population?
  • The silver tsunami is a term used to describe the demographic shift that is currently taking place as the baby boomer generation ages and enters retirement.


As this article reveals, there are many terms that people use to describe older adults, each with its nuances and connotations. The terms employed often depict the societal norms and beliefs about the aging process; therefore, changes in culture and society have led to the development of new terminologies. It is vital to use respectful and inclusive words when describing older adults as language matters and shapes our attitudes towards the elderly. It is essential to treat older adults with dignity and respect, regardless of what term one may use to describe them.


  1. The New York State Office for Aging. (2021). Terms used to describe older adults. https://aging.ny.gov/terms-used-describe-older-adults
  2. Sage Journals. (2012). Ageism: The importance of using appropriate terms to describe older adults. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1524838011433040
  3. Ryff, C. D., & Lee, Y. H. (2018). From Successful Aging to Transformative Aging: Cultural-Normative and Historical Perspectives. Gerontology, 64(6), 624–634. https://doi.org/10.1159/000487335

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