Great question, Rebecca. I believe it does mean something particular for women. Many women as they get older fear that they are becoming the stereotypical 'old lady'. You know, the one who needs help walking across the street, getting into their home, and requires a hearing aid. No one wants to be like that, but as women get older, they feel that they are becoming more and more like this stereotype. However, if you take the time to examine the situation from a more realistic point of view, it is in fact their own choices that define them. They can stay in shape by working out, eating right, and taking care of themselves. Not all women are doomed to live this feared life if they choose to avoid it.
With old age comes great wisdom as well, so there is even less reason to fear becoming old. However, there comes a point where one begins to forget everything they've learned. As with staying in shape though, this can be held off for some time with regular memory training puzzles and the like. Women are also concerned that they will be come more and more like a stereotypical woman in general, and that once they lose the ability to do other things they will begin to spend more and more time preparing meals. This is a valid concern, but need not be worried about if they simply take care to resist their intrinsic urge to cook.
Feminists worked hard in the past to overcome this urge, and much was done to destroy the image of the helpless female in this day and age. The man used to be the one who provided by hunting and gathering outside of the house, but no longer is that so. It is only natural to fear that they will be aiding in undoing that work. It's a bit silly, but these thoughts cross the minds of all women eventually. I hope I have shed some light on this topic for you.
Rebecca, good topic -- please give your definition of 'old age' as it pertains to women. The age parameters. I've known women who were not old at 90 and others who were old at 50. Thanks.
Chuck, you're a very young man, so please tell me on what you base the certainty of your thoughts: how many old women have you hung out with and for how long? No bringing into it newspaper articles you've read and/or the stats from 'scientific' surveys. Thanks.
Thank you both for the responses. I call old at least 70 and even that sometimes seems young.