Let’s talk about an important issue for seniors that can make the difference between feeling valued and feeling like a nuisance: The definition of “old.” And according to researchers at Oregon State University, seniors who can buy their own groceries and keep up with their household chores aren’t considered “old” by their family members.

The researchers asked the children of people in their late 80’s what factors would make them define a parent as “old” – meaning what would cause them to take away their driver’s license, or move them into an assisted living facility. The result: A majority of people said behavior was more important than chronological age. In other words, a 90-year-old who can go shopping, and remembers their own doctor’s appointments is less likely to lose their independence.  That’s compared to someone who’s 65, and can’t go out on their own.

What’s this mean to you? Staying active and alert as you age is crucial to your well-being. Not only will it allow you to lead a fuller life, it’ll prevent the conflict and bad feelings that come when the people who love you are worried about your safety and wellbeing.