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Despite what one might think upon hearing the word, anchorage is not a precise age. Instead, it is a range of ages that varies from person to person. Anchorage starts at an imprecise moment that depends on the mental and physical condition of the individual in question and continues beyond the death of that person.

Anchorage begins at the point when someone feels that age is weighing him or her down. The definition of “weighing down” is strictly up to the individual to whom it refers. For example, some people might feel that they have reached anchorage when they are not able to walk quite as far or fast or can’t carry heavy parcels as easily as they once could. Others might not think of themselves as being in anchorage until they have much more serious age-related mobility and other muscle and joint issues. While still others might consider anchorage to have commenced only when they have cognitive impairments that prevent them remembering, for example, where they live or parked their car or how and where to urinate or defecate when necessary.

Some people look forward to entering anchorage and exaggerate their condition so they can guilt-trip family, friends and strangers into doing things for them due to their advanced age. If you’ve got to get old, you might as well take advantage of it—or so they say.

As stated above, anchorage continues beyond death. It ends only when that now-dead, former person stops being a burden on other people. That burden might include dealing with funeral and estate arrangements or grief. After the death of the subject person, responsibility for defining anchorage and when it ends falls to the people burdened by the deceased’s demise. If multiple people are burdened by the deceased, anchorage ends only when the last burdened person says it has ended.

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