Becoming a “senior citizen” can be as much of a choice as it is being any specific age.  It may be a life event such as retirement or age-related disabilities that trigger your self-definition.  And, there are benefits to deciding to become a senior citizen, from lower-priced menu items, to spending that which you have saved for this special time of life, to medical care that is more reasonably priced.  Being designated a “Senior Citizen” can be a pretty good deal.

Receiving Senior Benefits

Some define their status as “seniors” when they start receiving Social Security.  And, because you can take Social Security as early as 62 or as late as 70, senior status in that case is sort of self-defined.  Or, in the case of Medicare the age definition is established as 65.

AARP will take your application as early as 50 years old and many restaurants only ask that you be 55 to order from the “senior special” menu.

Withdrawing from your 401-K or IRA can be done as early as 59½ without incurring penalties.  If you wait to pull out money until you are 72, the government forces you to take withdrawals called RMD’s or Required Minimum Distributions – the government wants to tax that money at some point, after all.

None of those ages define senior citizenship, but they are sometimes used as markers.


When you no longer are obligated to show up for work every day you may feel you have achieved “senior citizen” status.  Probably others in your life who may still be working, will feel that for you.

Now you may spend your time as you please and reflect on what you have achieved.  Perhaps you will use the time you have available to pursue a delayed passion for which you have not had time.

Age-Related Health Issues

Medical conditions such as arthritis, hypertension or hearing loss may cause you to feel you have achieved senior citizen status before you wanted to.  Needing to use more medications or medical devices on a daily basis may make you feel older than your years.  You may not feel so young as you are being fitted with a walker or arranging your pills every morning and evening.  Health situations may define “senior” status for you.