presby-, presbyo-

(Greek: old, relationship to old age, elderly, elder; literally, "he that goes first")

elder (verb, adjective, noun)
1. To share wisdom and knowledge with those who are younger: "He was eldering or presenting wisdom to younger members of the organization."
2. Greater than another person in age or seniority; or born before another person; especially, within a family, or having more seniority: "His sister is two years his elder."
3. One of the governing officers of a church, often having pastoral or teaching functions.

Factors to be considered when using the term elder

  • The adjective elder is not a synonym for elderly.
  • When comparisons are made between two people, elder means "older" but not necessarily "old": "Her elder brother is fourteen."
  • The term eldest is used when three or more people are compared: "She is the eldest of four children."
  • If age alone is to be expressed, one should use older or elderly instead of elder: "They made a survey of older citizens and his brother is still working as an elderly waiter."
  • Unlike elder and its related forms, the adjectives old, older, and oldest can also be applied to things as well as to people.
elder share
If the share, or proportion, of people over a certain age is increasing, the population is considered to be aging.

Demographers use this type of measuring the population to determine if more people are getting older in addition to using median age as a factor.

presbyasomnia (s) (noun), presbyasomnias (pl)
Sleeplessness that exists as a result of old age.
Rarely used terms for geriatrics; medical treatment of the aged.
presbycardia, senile heart disease
1. Impaired cardiac function attributed to the aging process, occurring in association with recognizable changes of senescence in the body and in the absence of convincing evidence of other forms of heart disease.
2. Involutional aging changes of the myocardium, with associated pigmentation of the heart.

It decreases cardiac reserve but rarely produces heart failure itself.

presbycusis [presbyacusia] (s) (noun), presbycuses (pl)
Dullness of hearing, which is a characteristic of old age, including the loss of the ability to perceive or to discriminate sounds: "A person's presbycusis usually occurs progressively as he or she ages."

"Symptoms of presbycusis are gradual hearing loss and tinnitus."

"The normal process of aging produces changes in the cochlea and the cochlear nerves; in other words, damage in the inner ear, and results in permanent sensorineural hearing loss."

"Presbycusis most often occurs in both ears and because the loss of hearing is so gradual, people with presbycusis may not realize that their hearing is diminishing."

Presbycusis is common, affecting a third of people between 65 and 75 years and up to a half of people 75 and over."

"The only treatment for presbycusis is the wearing of hearing aids which can be worn in the ears or behind the ears."

"Other visual communicative technique; such as, lipreading or watching facial expressions are also helpful in coping with hearing loss."

—Primarily compiled from information in
The Consumer's Medical Desk Reference; by Charles B. Inlander
and the Staff of the People's Medical Society;
The Stonesong Press, Inc.; New York; 1995; page 99.
presbyderma, presbydermia
1. The skin changes of middle and old age.
2. Cutaneous (skin) changes associated with the middle and later years of life.
1. A condition characterized by alteration in motor function of the esophagus as a result of degenerative changes occurring with advancing age.
2. A disorder in the elderly characterized by altered motility of the esophagus.
Impairment of memory that is characteristic of old age.
Silliness sometimes accompanying old age.
1. Impairment of mental faculties that are characteristic of old age.
2. Its principal characteristics are marked confusional disorientation, confabulation, mistakes in identity, and agitation without the accomplishment of any objective.

Presbyophrenic confabulations typically show a poverty, monotony, puerility, and naiveté of content. Because ethical conduct is preserved for a relatively long time, the patient is able to fit into limited social contacts, and particularly so since his/her affect tends toward the euphoric and the amiable.

Characterized by senile dementia; especially, that variety in which apparent mental alertness is combined with failure of memory, disorientation, and confabulation.
presbyopia, presbyopic; presbytia, presbytic, presbytism
1. A form of farsightedness occurring after middle age, caused by a diminished elasticity of the crystalline lens.
2. The physiological loss of accommodation in the eyes in advancing age, said to begin when the near point has receded beyond 22 cm (9 inches).
3. The loss of the eye's ability to change focus to see near objects.
4. Eyesight characteristic of older people.

The reasons for this loss of the power of accommodation are not yet fully known. It is conventionally said to be a result of the lenses of the eyes becoming less elastic with time.

Presbyopia is associated with aging; however, it happens with everyone. The first sign is often the necessity to hold reading material farther away in order to be able to focus on the contents.

The term presbyopia is said to come from the Greek for "elderly vision".

Impairment of the ability to properly stand which is associated with aging.
1. In the early Christian church and in the Presbyterian Church, an elder.
2. In the Episcopal Church, a priest or minister.

Related "old; old age, elder" units: gero-; obsolesc-; sen-; veter-.