May 19, 2024

What is the difference between a “senior” and an “elderly” person?
I read an article of a well-known licensed home care services agency in the United States, which states that understanding the difference between these two words is important in increasing the effectiveness and quality of our care for them.
Basically, the words “senior” and “elderly” are used to describe two different situations: “senior” is an age group, while “elderly” is a matter of capability.
Thus, your seniority denotes your actual age and which is usually categorized by the government for purposes of determining if you are lawfully entitled to the benefits that the government provides the senior citizens. It may be different from country to country.
For example, in Spain and France, senior citizens start at age 65 while in the Philippines and the U.S., it starts at age 60.
Note that “retirement age” does not also depend on your being a “senior” as it depends again on the law of the country which sets it. Seniority, therefore, does not refer to the person’s physical or mental capacity. A 70-year-old man may be able to carry a 30-kilo container that a 50-year-old man could do; or do a mental calculation of weights and measurements that a 40-year-old person can make.
An “elderly” person, on the other hand, refers to the capability and function of a person that is caused by aging, but not necessarily his age. Thus, a person who has not even reached senior age may already have health difficulties and issues that come with aging, like decrease in vigorous exercises and activities, forgetfulness and socialization.
But whether you are a “senior” or an“elderly” person, the level of care that you need would actually depend on your functionality or capability to live a normal life. The term senior citizen just gives you the privilege of availing of the benefits given you by law or other establishments as an attraction for a wider range of customers that include elderlies nearing “senior citizenship”.
There is not much issue on how an elderly person could maintain a normal life should he retire from work and expects a regular pension from an employer upon retirement and the extent of health care that he can avail of, either as provided for by the government or by his health insurance, if he has one.
Of course, as to health, contracting major diseases such as cancer, or heart ailment is everyone’s concern, including pensioners and the rich, due to financial as well as emotional costs, the latter of which has a domino effect on the family.
The benefits granted by the countries to its people depend on the degree of generosity of their governments. Spain, for example, gives its seniors free public transportation and health care benefits, which are extended to residents with permanent status.
In the U.S., free public transportation, if ever, would depend on the governments of a State. As to health care, a citizen is provided as long as he is a registered employee or is a dependent and could extend up to your retirement if you have reached a number of years in employment.
In Barcelona, there are medical experiments on various cures of cancer conducted by hospitals and the medical groups together with pharmaceutical companies, on patients in serious stages of cancer who are invited to join in the experiments. After screening, based on their criterion which basically assesses the race, blood type and stage of the cancer spread in the subject’s body, a volunteer is taken into the program.
A friend in Barcelona has volunteered and was admitted to the experimental program. At the time of his admission, “Bong” was a stage 4 lung cancer patient, and given only just a few months to live. After initial medical observations and treatment in the hospital for a week, Bong was discharged and provided with medicines and food supplements for 10 days and was required to report back to the hospital for observation and tests, to know if the experimental drug was working on him.
For a time, Bong’s physical appearance and health was improving as in fact, he was able to walk out of their house unassisted and joined our weekly get together and mahjong sessions. His good physical and mental disposition went on for two years.
But, on the third year, the efficacy of the experimental drug on him started to diminish until Bong was told that they could no longer sustain him in the program and was taken to the hospital where he was placed on oxygen. Bong expired quietly last year after he bade goodbye to his family and friends.
Bong expressed his thanks for the threeyears extension of his life which would have cost his family a fortune to sustain. On the contrary, Bong and his family were given a monthly stipend during his experimental treatment.