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Reviewing the definition of “elderly”


Dr Hajime Orimo, University of Health Science, Yamanashi, Japan. Email:


Conventionally, “elderly” has been defined as a chronological age of 65 years old or older, while those from 65 through 74 years old are referred to as “early elderly” and those over 75 years old as “late elderly.” However, the evidence on which this definition is based is unknown. We have attempted to review the definition of elderly by analyzing data from long-term longitudinal epidemiological studies, and clinical and pathological studies that have been accumulated at the Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital and the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology. Our recommendation might be a starting point in developing a strategy for a successful society by reviewing the definition of elderly based on comprehensive evidence in all aspects of social, cultural and medical sciences.