1. At what age are people considered to be “old” in China?
That is really a big question. People’s views much be divided on this. From my perspective, …
The easiest way to divide the old from all is to judge according to the chronological age. In the past, people over 70s are considered to be old, but this line has been shifted gradually with the time goes by, because people nowadays live much longer than before. Many older people can still make great contribution to the society, so broadly speaking, I think, those over 80s, or those who are no longer physically capable can be regarded as just entering the twilight life.
The biological age has no longer been the only judgment, because the real psychological age and the physical fitness differ from person to person, and they seem to be more important for others to decide whether the person is qualified as “old” or not.
Broadly speaking, when people are over their 50s, they will gradually feel that they are getting older. Indeed, the physical and mental condition do decrease year by year, with a higher possibility of suffering from diseases and less tolerant and acceptable to different opinions and new ideas.
I firmly believe that being “old” is simply connected with the state of mind. If one loses passion for life, they are indeed becoming old. This is why, in China, we tend to describe someone who show very little enthusiasm to life as an old bookish man.
2. Why do old people today live longer than in the past?
The advance in medical service means that more diseases become curable and can be easily diagnosed at an early age. Senile diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are less common among the older pensioner and most of them can even live very long with the illness being uncured permanently.