The term senile refers to the characteristics of advanced age. It is sometimes combined with the name of a condition, such as senile arthritis, to differentiate between the condition in old age and the rest of the population. However, senility is most often used to describe a decline in mental abilities in older people, for example, if the person has Alzheimer’s disease. However, senile is no longer a medically accepted expression. In recent years, use of the word ‘senility’ has fallen out of common use in favor of more age-positive terminology, such as dementia.

1. Senility vs. Dementia

‘Senility’ can loosely refer to any cognition loss common in seniors. However, the term ‘dementia’ is used most often these days and is the accepted medical term. Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms and conditions that cause a decline in cognitive function. Unlike the term ‘senility,’ dementia can apply to anybody, at any age. However, dementia is most common in older people.

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