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 occurs as a result of old age: Mary's grandmother was getting quite old and noticed that she was suffering from presbyasomnia and couldn't get much rest at night.
presbyatrics (s) (noun), presbyatrics (pl)
Rarely used term for gerontology; medical treatment of the aged: Joan's sister was quite interested in the whole range of family medications and remedies and specifically in presbyatrics for older people up in their years.
presbycardia (s) (noun) (no pl)
Impaired cardiac function attributed to the aging process: Presbycardia occurs together with recognizable changes of senescence in the body and without evidence of other forms of heart illnesses and presbycardia rarely causes 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: Mr. Smart's presbycusis occurred progressively as he got older.

Symptoms of presbycusis are gradual hearing loss and tinnitus.

The normal process of growing older produces changes in the cochlea and the cochlear nerves and, 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 the people between 65 and 75 years and up to a half of the 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 techniques, 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 (s) (noun) (no pl)
Skin alteration associated with middle and old age: Grace noticed that her grandmother's hands and face looked quite dry and had spots on them and guessed that she was affected by presbyderma, especially since she was already 80 years old!
presbyesophagus (s) (noun); presbyesophagi; presbyesophaguses (pl)
1. A condition characterized by changes in the motor function of the alimentary canal as a result of degenerative alterations occurring with advancing age: The elderly Mrs. Park had to eat slowly because she suffered from presbyesophagus and had to chew her food carefully and thoroughly.
2. A disorder in the elderly characterized by altered spontaneous movement of the alimentary tract: Mr. Hathaway, affected with presbyesophagus, had to eat very slowly because swallowing his food was very difficult for him.
presbymnemia (s) (noun) (no plural)
Impairment of memory that is characteristic of old age: Since Albert was already 99 years old, it was no wonder that he was afflicted with presbymnemia and couldn't remember certain dates and places where he had been when he was younger.
presbymoria (s) (noun) (no pl)
Silliness or foolish behaviour sometimes occurring in the elderly: It happened once in a while that old Mr. Evens displayed presbymoria in that he had a total lack of good sense or precaution and his manner was quite impulsive, scatterbrained, and full of folly.
presbyophrenia (s) (noun) (no pl)
A disability of mental faculties that are typical of old age: Presbyophrenia exhibits a confusional disorientation, mistakes in identity, confabulation, and fretting without achieving any purpose or aim.

Presbyophrenic informal conversation normally shows poorness, dullness, immaturity, and simpleness of content. Because ethical conduct is maintained for a comparatively long time, the patient is capable of blending into small social groups, especially because his or her feelings or emotions tend towards happiness and good-naturedness.

Characterized by senile dementia; especially, that variety in which apparent mental alertness is combined with failure of memory, disorientation, and confabulation.
presbyopia, presbytia (s) (noun) (no pl)
A form of farsightedness occurring after middle age: Jane's mother was older than 45 and had presbyopia which was caused by a diminished elasticity of the crystalline lens in her eyes.

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".

presbystasis (s) (noun), presbystases (pl)
Impairment of the ability to stand properly which is associated with aging: Steven's elderly neighbor was 94 years old and suffered from presbystasis and therefore always used a cane to walk.
presbyter (s) (noun), presbyters (pl)
1. An elder in former Christian and Presbyterian Churches: The presbyter was not only responsible for the care of the souls in the congregation but also for the administration of the sacraments.
2. A priest or minister in the Episcopal Church: The presbyter is a clergyman of liturgy, word, and charity and has the function of teaching and performing hieratical duties.

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