Wrong, wrong, WRONG! A recent survey announced that more than half of the people who are using Mac computers are "elderly people, often 55 years or older." Excuse freakin' me, but since when is 55 or older elderly?
"Elderly" is defined by false teeth and Hush Puppies and walkers and Depends, isn't it? Please, please don't tell me that the mother of all iPods, the Mac, is soon to join the ranks.
But it's all relative, if you think about it. You would have been elderly at 19 if your relatives were Neanderthals. Their life span was only about 20 years.
You can thank the Romans and their (chicken lovers will appreciate the expression) Cloaca Maxima, one of the earliest sewage systems. That innovation alone produced a major jump in life expectancy thanks to the reduction in the spread of disease. A local cesspool cleaner may proclaim on their trucks, "Your poop is our bread and butter," but the contents of chamber pots dumped out the window didn't help medieval life spans.
Lucky for us, life expectancy increased dramatically in the 20th century. In the United States in 1901 it was 49 years, but by the end of the century it was 77 years, an increase of 57%. A decrease in infant and childhood mortality has had a huge positive impact on average age at death; but HIV, alcohol use, and obesity have had a negative impact.
Some researchers believe that half of the North American and Japanese babies born since 2000 will live to an age of 90, and 10% to 100 years of age. Personally, a recent 60th birthday seems like a good half way point. Call me middle-aged, perhaps, but not elderly.