Sam wonders what’s old and who’s a senior anyway?

Sitting in a deck chair beside the pool on the cruise ship, I made a comment to Susan about some of the very fit seniors running on the track on the level above the pool. The running track circled the pool and there were all manner of silver haired walkers and runners.


There are also people on this cruise younger than us, in their twenties and thirties. We are 53 (me) and almost 53 (Susan). I’m still thinking of us in the middle years, not seniors yet.

Still, Shoppers Drug Mart here in Canada starts seniors discounts at 55. I’m 54 this summer so cheaper shampoo and toothpaste is within sight. A few years ago when we were on sabbatical in Dunedin, New Zealand I was slightly alarmed to see that the seniors price at the movie theatre started at 50. I wasn’t yet eligible but it was close. Likewise, my favorite local swimming pool sets the seniors discount at 50.

Prior to this I had thought there was a hard line. When mandatory retirement was the law in Canada you worked until 65 and then retired. I thought the move was from working person to senior citizen. That never did fit everyone. Some people retired young. Others, like stay at home parents, might not have worked for pay outside the home.

Now though with the end of mandatory retirement, retirement ages are all over the map.

I remember, years ago in my bike racing days, debates about who counts and who should count as a master’s athlete. Likewise with rowing. In some sports it’s quite young, after 35 you’re a master. Other sports such as laser racing have added extra categories like grand master.

Where do you draw the line? Who is a senior citizen and who is not? Do the labels matter to you? Why/why not?