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Academic societies propose defining elderly as those aged 75 or older

Academic societies in Japan on Thursday proposed defining
"elderly" people as those aged 75 or older, rather than 65 or above
as at present, reflecting the fact that many senior citizens remain
physically and mentally vibrant.
The Japan Gerontological Society and the Japan Geriatrics
Society suggested calling people aged 90 and above "super-elderly,"
while proposing that "semi-elderly" be applied to people aged between
65 and 74.
Redefining people aged 65 to 74 as capable of leading active
social lives and supporting society would create a vibrant aging
society, the societies said.
The proposal is likely to influence debate on Japan's social
security and employment systems that are based on the premise that
people aged 65 or older require support.
"We would like the proposal to change public awareness of
elderly people and provide an opportunity to promote their
participation in society," said Yasuyoshi Ouchi, the president of
Toranomon Hospital who compiled the proposal.
After analyzing various health-related data for senior citizens,
the gerontological society found that the average physical and mental
abilities of old people in the same age group have been improving
every year.
The data found that older people are increasingly retaining
their teeth, while the proportion certified as requiring long-term
care has been declining.
According to the gerontological society, most people aged
between 65 and 74 can still actively engage in social activities and
creating an environment in which senior citizens can work and
participate in volunteer activities is important amid the nation's
rapidly graying population.
The proposal also took into account a Cabinet Office survey
showing a majority of respondents expressing a negative view about
defining people aged 65 or older as elderly.
In the survey, the largest number of respondents said men should
be defined as elderly when they are 70 or older, while women should
be when they are 75 or older. (Jan. 5)