Living Well – How old is old?

Columnist Vicky Trill wonders how age should be measured these days.

How Old is OLD?

I overhead some teens discussing what age they considered old. The consensus was when you hit 40, you are OLD.

Hmm, so according to them, I am in that “old” category, but it’s funny, I feel in many ways younger now than when I was 20. I am doing more physically and am more fit now than in my 20s and 30s and I get less pimples too! I didn’t agree with them, so when is old, old?

As an example, we have two Queens on their Diamond Jubilee (60 years on the throne). The first is Queen Victoria at age 78 who, due to her frailty, stayed in the carriage for the ceremony. The other is Queen Elizabeth, at age 86, who climbed the stairs to the Cathedral un-aided and in heels. So which one is old?

What determines when we are old? Is it our health, abilities and contributions to our world that determine whether we are old? or is it the smoothness of our skin and colour of our hair? Or… is it altogether something else?

Retirement age seems to be anywhere from 55-65, but generally we’ve said retirement is 65. Today however, that age is being stretched out longer, people are working longer, maybe even into their early 70s. Is this a sign that we are staying young longer? They say that our life expectancy has increased. Does this mean that the new 40 is 30 and the new 60 is 50?

I have worked hard at increasing my speed and stamina in running and I still can’t quite keep up to my 73 year old friend and running buddy. On the other hand, we both race by a lot of teens and 20 year olds. So who’s old now?

Okay, so maybe we can’t characterize ‘old’ just based on what we can do physically, but our physical abilities do have something to do with our quality of life. If we are able to move about, walk, lift and even run, we are not limited to the things we want to do. Whether it’s taking care of a child, or enjoying a Sunday playing outside, we are happier when we can do these activities with ease and being physically fit is how we get there.

According to Health Canada, regular physical activity and higher levels of fitness allow daily tasks to be accomplished with greater ease and comfort and with less fatigue. Research shows that as much as half the functional decline between the ages of 30-70 is due not to aging itself but to an inactive way of life.  In addition, physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of over 25 chronic conditions, including coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, breast cancer, colon cancer, Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. With this knowledge then, is it possible for us to stay younger longer with regular physical activity. I believe this to be true.

Okay, so if we stay active with regular physical exercise, we can get out and enjoy the things we want to do, but is this the only deciding factor on how old is old?

In preparing to write this article I asked for the opinions of others on “how old is old?” and I heard some really great responses. Some say it’s how current we are with today’s culture, some say, it’s how young we look, others say it’s how young we feel and still others say it’s how active we are. What do you think? “How old is old?” Do we have any control over the matter?

Send me your thoughts either by Email: or Phone: 250 457-7038.

Vicky Trill

Just Posted

Ashcroft hospital emergency closed sign, 2016. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Ashcroft Hospital emergency department closed this weekend

Closure due to unexpected limited physician availabiliy, says Interior Health

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Massive jade boulder returns to Cache Creek store six months after daring heist

The 3,000-pound boulder was stolen on Dec. 19, 2020 and found abandoned in the bush a week later

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Most Read