At What Age Are You Considered a Senior Citizen?

When defining the age at which an individual is considered a senior citizen, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Different organizations, government bodies, and even states may have varying criteria. In this blog post, I talk about the age thresholds commonly associated with senior citizenship, shedding light on the perspectives of different entities.

Is Age 62 the Magic Number?

old man calm and composed

In the United States, the consensus is that a person becomes a senior citizen upon reaching the age of 62. At this point, many individuals consider retirement, and some government programs, such as Social Security, become accessible. This age is often seen as a milestone, marking the transition into a new phase of life.

Medicaid and the Age of 65

While 62 is often deemed the age of eligibility for certain benefits, Medicaid, a state and federally-funded healthcare program for low-income individuals, sets its standard threshold at 65. This distinction is crucial, as it impacts an individual’s access to healthcare services. So, even if you’re considered a senior citizen at 62 for some purposes, you may need to wait until 65 to benefit from Medicaid fully.

What Does the CDC Say?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers another perspective on the age of senior citizenship. According to the CDC, an “older adult” is someone who has reached the age of 60. This definition, while not universally adopted, reflects a broader acknowledgment of the aging process and the need to address health concerns as individuals enter their sixth decade of life.

State Variations: Elderly or Not?

When it comes to determining who qualifies as elderly, states may have their distinct criteria. While there is no specific nationwide number, most states commonly use age 65 as a cut-off. This age serves as a benchmark for various considerations, including resources available in cases of elder abuse. However, it’s important to note that the specifics can vary from state to state.

The Gray Area: 60 to 65

Navigating the landscape of senior citizenship isn’t always black and white. The age at which one is considered a senior citizen often falls within the gray area of 60 to 65. This range reflects the diversity of perspectives and policies in place. While some entities may define senior citizenship at 60, others may wait until 65. It’s this variability that makes the journey into seniorhood a unique experience for each individual.

State-by-State Distinctions

To grasp the full picture, it’s crucial to recognize the state-specific distinctions in defining senior citizenship. Some states may align with the general 65-year threshold, while others might adopt a more inclusive approach, considering individuals as seniors at the age of 60. Understanding these state-specific differences becomes essential, especially for those seeking to access state-funded programs and resources tailored to seniors.

Beyond the Numbers: Aging Gracefully

Relaxing Spa

While the age at which one is officially deemed a senior citizen may vary, the concept extends beyond mere numbers. Aging gracefully involves embracing the changing dynamics of life, adapting to new challenges, and finding fulfillment in each stage. Whether you’re considered a senior at 60, 62, or 65, the essence lies in maintaining a positive outlook and engaging in activities that contribute to a fulfilling and enriching later life.


In the realm of senior citizenship, age is not a rigid number but rather a fluid concept influenced by various factors. While 62 is often associated with retirement and access to certain benefits, Medicaid sets a different standard at 65. 

The CDC considers individuals at the age of 60 as older adults, highlighting the multifaceted nature of aging. State variations further complicate the matter, with some adopting a 65-year threshold and others embracing a broader definition starting at 60.

In the end, the journey into seniorhood is a personal one, influenced by individual circumstances, state regulations, and societal perspectives. Rather than fixating on a specific age, embracing the broader concept of aging gracefully allows individuals to focus on leading fulfilling lives well into their senior years.

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