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  • Joseph Roos (1908 - 1999)
    Joseph Roos (December 10, 1908 – December 11, 1999) was a journalist, publicist, and Hollywood story editor. He wrote hundreds of radio scripts and won a Peabody Award. He fought against discriminati...
  • Mary Frances Coffey (1834 - 1922)
    Virginia Death Cert. #3803 Dist. #621 Reg. #3 COD: No doctor present; Old age, loss of mind, heart failure
  • (USA), James Wesley Chapman (1838 - 1932)
    Served for the Union during the Civil war and was captured in Nicholas county VA. Imprisoned in Andersonville Prison camp in GA for 11 months. Jacob Chapman III, a son of Jacob Chapman Jr., was b...
  • Joakim Larsson Paldanius (1740 - 1810)
    Kuopio maaseurakunta > syntyneet, 1690-1751 > 220: 1740 Iisalmen maaseurakunta > rippikirja, 1774-1779 > 225: Palois Ylioppilasmatrikkeli 1640-1852: 21.3.1764 Joakim Paldanius 8496. * Kuopiossa 1...
  • Margaret Boarts (1851 - 1918)
    Iowa City __Press-Citizen__, Tuesday, 17 December 1918: MRS. MARG. BOARTS PASSED AWAY "Mrs. Margaret Boarts, widow of the late Michael Boarts, died at the Mary O. Coldren home, yesterday afternoon....

Please add only those who died of old age with NO other specific cause of death.

  • (For example: The person went to sleep & didn't wake up.)

Old Age refers to ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings, and is thus the end of the human life cycle. Old age is not a definite biological stage, as the chronological age denoted as "old age" varies culturally, historically and differs according to the context. The definitions of old age continue to change. Life expectancy today has expanded in historically unprecedented proportions, greatly increasing the numbers of people who survive over the age of 65. Old age, death, and frailty are linked because approximately half the deaths in old age are preceded by months or years of frailty.

Life expectancy:

  • Life expectancy by Country 2017 (201 countries listed) World Population Review Ranges from 84.462 in Hong Kong to 48.844 in Swaziland.
  • Global life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 71.89 (The Statistics Portal)
  • In most parts of the world women live, on average, longer than men.
  • Since life expectancy has changed over time and from one country & culture to another, no age range is being set to determine who would qualify for this project.

"Old age" is not truly a cause of death in and of itself. To die of "old age" is a layman term & means that someone has died naturally from an ailment associated with aging. The same usually goes for dying of natural causes. It is a colloquial way in which we refer to the death of an older person where the cause is not obvious or well-understood. It is never old age alone that causes someone to die. Rather, it is the increasing likelihood of complications arising from the conditions that accumulate with age.

A "Natural Cause," as recorded by coroners and on death certificates and associated documents, is the end result of an illness or an internal malfunction of the body not directly caused by external forces. This is especially true when an elderly person has several different conditions or diseases, but where it appears that none of them alone or together may clearly lead to the death, and it is uncertain which condition was the final factor causing death. Old age is not a scientifically recognized cause of death; there is always a more direct cause, although it may be unknown in certain cases and could be one of a number of aging-associated diseases.

Today, officially, no one dies of old age in the United States. That's according to the NCHS, which is the government agency responsible for collecting statistical information on how we die. Today doctors and coroners are pressed to specify a cause of death, so the terms old age and natural causes are rarely used. They are expected to list both the immediate and underlying cause of death. For instance, a person who had a heart attack and died may have their immediate cause of death listed as cardiac arrest and their underlying cause of death as heart disease. In the past, an elderly person who died in such a manner may have had their death classified as a natural cause or old age, but this in increasingly less common.

However, professionals don't always have an easy time identifying an underlying cause of death when the deceased has multiple underlying ailments simultaneously. As a Washington Post article states, You know the cartoon where a character is driving an old car that suddenly falls apart, every bolt sprung, with the last hubcap rattling in a circle until it comes to rest? Some people die like that, too. The trouble is there's not a good name for it.

In cases when the root cause isn't clear, sometimes a generic term like multiple organ failure or debility will be listed, but natural causes or old age as an official cause of death has gone the way of the buffalo.

Senility is related to the word senile, which itself is from the Latin word senilis, meaning "old age." There are subtle differences between senility and Alzheimer's disease, which causes memory loss as well as emotional and behavioral changes.

  • Senility, a term more commonly used in the past, is the weakness or mental infirmity of old age, and is associated with the deterioration of the body and mind in the elderly. It is commonly referred to as dementia today.
  • Senility is an obsolete and imprecise term used to denote a pronounced loss of mental or physical control in the aged caused by physical or mental deterioration or a combination of the two. In senility, these changes are often extreme in nature. Certain types of psychosis are associated with aging, such as senile dementia and dementia of the alzheimer type.
  • The use of the word senile is more commonly, but somewhat incorrectly, associated with a decline in mental abilities, such as memory loss or confusion, as people age.

List of Old Age Related Causes of Death From the above site the following are a few of the terms used, (explanations; definitions), & examples found on Death certificates (see site for more):

  • Aged - (Senility) - Example was from a 1754 Death Record from England
  • Debility from Old Age - Example was from an 1890 death record from Michigan
  • Feebleness - (The state of being weak in health or body (especially from old age) [syn: infirmity]. [Wordnet].) Example was from an 1869 death certificate from West Virginia
  • General Decay - (Decay; decline.) Example was from an 1874 Death Certificate form Gloucester, England
  • Infirmity of age - (Any disease which has become habitual, either owing to its chronic character, or its numerous relapses. [Dunglison1868]; A bodily ailment or weakness, especially one brought on by old age. [American Heritage]; The state of being infirm; feebleness; an imperfection or weakness; esp., an unsound, unhealthy, or debilitated state; a disease; a malady; as, infirmity of body or mind. [Webster].) Example was from an 1856 death certificate from West Virginia was from an 1848 Switzerland Church Death Record
  • Natural Causes - (In medicine, death by natural causes is a loosely-defined term used by coroners describing death when the cause of death was a naturally occurring disease process, or is not apparent given medical history or circumstances. Thus, deaths caused by active human intervention (as opposed to the failure of medical intervention to prevent death) are excluded from this definition. [Wikipedia].) Example was from a 1919 Death Certificate from Georgia.
  • Old Age - (Senility) Example was from a 1779 Death Record from England
  • Senile Decay - (Refers to the progressive loss of mental capacity that leads to dementia and personal helplessness. The majority of the cases recorded were most likely Alzheimer's disease. [Schmidt2007].) Example was from an 1889 Infirmary Death Record from England
  • Senile Dementia - (A progressive, abnormally accelerated deterioration of mental faculties and emotional stability in old age, occurring especially in Alzheimer's disease. [Heritage].) Example was from a 1925 death certificate from New Brunswick, Canada
  • Senile Insanity - (A form of insanity, in which there is a hopeless decadency or loss of the mental faculties. [Dunglison 1874].) Example was from a 1919 death certificate from Georgia
  • Senility - (The quality or state of being senile; specifically : the physical and mental infirmity of old age. [Merriem Webster].) Example was from a 1926 Death Certificate from Louisiana

Notables who died of old age:

  1. Ranker - Famous People Who Died of Old Age 10 people listed

Sources & Additional Reading:

Jump back to Cause of death portal This project is found after Neurological Disorders/Diseases projects.



Please add only those who died of old age with NO other specific cause of death.

  • (For example: The person went to sleep & didn't wake up.)

Old Age refers to ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings, and is thus the end of the human life cycle. Old age is not a definite biological stage, as the chronological age denoted as "old age" varies culturally and historically. At what age old age begins cannot be universally defined because it differs according to the context. The definitions of old age continue to change. In ancient Rome and medieval Europe the average life span is estimated to have been between 20 and 30 years. Life expectancy today has expanded in historically unprecedented proportions, greatly increasing the numbers of people who survive over the age of 65. Old age, death, and frailty are linked because approximately half the deaths in old age are preceded by months or years of frailty.

Life expectancy by nation at birth in the year 2011 ranged from 48 years to 82. Low values indicate high death rates for infants and children. In October 2016, scientists identified the maximum human lifespan at an average age of 115, with an absolute upper limit of 125 years. In most parts of the world women live, on average, longer than men.

Since life expectancy has changed over time and from one country & culture to another, no age range is being set to determine who would qualify for this project. “Old age” is not truly a cause of death in and of itself. To “die of old age” is a layman’s term & means that someone has died naturally from an ailment associated with aging. The same usually goes for “dying of natural causes.” It is a colloquial way in which we refer to the death of an older person where the cause is not obvious or well-understood. It is never old age alone that causes someone to die. Rather, it is the increasing likelihood of complications arising from the conditions that accumulate with age.

A "Natural Cause" (See: death by natural causes), as recorded by coroners and on death certificates and associated documents, is the end result of an illness or an internal malfunction of the body not directly caused by external forces. This is especially true when an elderly person has several different conditions or diseases, but where it appears that none of them alone or together may clearly lead to the death, and it is uncertain which condition was the final factor causing death. Old age is not a scientifically recognized cause of death; there is always a more direct cause, although it may be unknown in certain cases and could be one of a number of aging-associated diseases.

Traditionally, government health authorities have required resident’s causes of death to be listed on death certificates. So, sometimes when an elderly person passed peacefully and not altogether unexpectedly, coroners would simply declare that the deceased had died of “natural causes” or even “old age.” In these cases, there was always a more specific cause of death, but it may not have been determined or thought to be worth mentioning.

Today, officially, no one dies of old age in the United States. That's according to the NCHS, which is the government agency responsible for collecting statistical information on how we die. Today doctors and coroners are pressed to specify a cause of death, so the terms “old age” and “natural causes” are rarely used. They are expected to list both the immediate and underlying cause of death. For instance, a person who had a heart attack and died may have their immediate cause of death listed as “cardiac arrest” and their underlying cause of death as “heart disease.” In the past, an elderly person who died in such a manner may have had their death classified as a “natural cause” or “old age,” but this in increasingly less common.

However, professionals don’t always have an easy time identifying an underlying cause of death when the deceased has multiple underlying ailments simultaneously. As a Washington Post article states, “You know the cartoon where a character is driving an old car that suddenly falls apart, every bolt sprung, with the last hubcap rattling in a circle until it comes to rest? Some people die like that, too. The trouble is there’s not a good name for it.”

In cases when the root cause isn’t clear, sometimes a generic term like “multiple organ failure” or “debility” will be listed, but “natural causes” or “old age” as an official cause of death has gone the way of the buffalo.

The practice of ascribing a death to “natural causes” lives on in the media and popular parlance. Because we are not doctors, we don’t necessarily need to know the details of a stranger’s last days. “Natural causes” suffices because clinical accuracy about an older person’s death is usually neither necessary nor desirable. In fact, detail beyond “natural causes” would be considered an undignified invasion of the privacy of the deceased and his or her loved ones. Similarly, at least in public discourse, when the deceased person has multiple underlying ailments and contributing factors, “natural causes” or “old age” is sufficiently accurate in that it recognizes the ambiguity of the cause of death.

Senility is related to the word senile, which itself is from the Latin word senilis, meaning "old age." There are subtle differences between senility and Alzheimer's disease, which causes memory loss as well as emotional and behavioral changes.

  • Senility, a term more commonly used in the past, is the weakness or mental infirmity of old age, and is associated with the deterioration of the body and mind in the elderly. It is commonly referred to as dementia today.
  • Senility is an obsolete and imprecise term used to denote a pronounced loss of mental or physical control in the aged caused by physical or mental deterioration or a combination of the two. In senility, these changes are often extreme in nature. Certain types of psychosis are associated with aging, such as senile dementia and dementia of the alzheimer type.
  • The use of the word senile is more commonly, but somewhat incorrectly, associated with a decline in mental abilities, such as memory loss or confusion, as people age.

List of Old Age Related Causes of Death From the above site the following are a few of the terms used, (explanations; definitions), & examples found on Death certificates (see site for more):

  • Aged - (Senility) - Example was from a 1754 Death Record from England
  • Debility from Old Age - Example was from an 1890 death record from Michigan
  • Feebleness - (The state of being weak in health or body (especially from old age) [syn: infirmity]. [Wordnet].) Example was from an 1869 death certificate from West Virginia
  • General Decay - (Decay; decline.) Example was from an 1874 Death Certificate form Gloucester, England
  • Infirmity of age - (Any disease which has become habitual, either owing to its chronic character, or its numerous relapses. [Dunglison1868]; A bodily ailment or weakness, especially one brought on by old age. [American Heritage]; The state of being infirm; feebleness; an imperfection or weakness; esp., an unsound, unhealthy, or debilitated state; a disease; a malady; as, infirmity of body or mind. [Webster].) Example was from an 1856 death certificate from West Virginia was from an 1848 Münster, Switzerland Church Death Record
  • Natural Causes - (In medicine, death by natural causes is a loosely-defined term used by coroners describing death when the cause of death was a naturally occurring disease process, or is not apparent given medical history or circumstances. Thus, deaths caused by active human intervention (as opposed to the failure of medical intervention to prevent death) are excluded from this definition. [Wikipedia].) Example was from a 1919 Death Certificate from Georgia.
  • Old Age - (Senility) Example was from a 1779 Death Record from England
  • Senile Debility - (Senility) Example was from a 1920 Death Certificate from Louisiana
  • Senile Decay - (Refers to the progressive loss of mental capacity that leads to dementia and personal helplessness. The majority of the cases recorded were most likely Alzheimer's disease. [Schmidt2007].) Example was from an 1889 Infirmary Death Record from England
  • Senile Dementia - (A progressive, abnormally accelerated deterioration of mental faculties and emotional stability in old age, occurring especially in Alzheimer's disease. [Heritage].) Example was from a 1925 death certificate from New Brunswick, Canada
  • Senile Insanity - (A form of insanity, in which there is a hopeless decadency or loss of the mental faculties. [Dunglison 1874].) Example was from a 1919 death certificate from Georgia
  • Senility - (The quality or state of being senile; specifically : the physical and mental infirmity of old age. [Merriem Webster].) Example was from a 1926 Death Certificate from Louisiana

Notables who died of old age:

Sources & Additional Reading:

Jump back to Cause of death portal This project is found after Neurological Disorders/Diseases projects.