The world’s population is rapidly aging. Social attitudes toward old people set the stage for both informal moral thinking and disciplined applied ethics thinking about old people. The first section of this article describes how social attitudes toward elderly people set the stage for informal moral thinking. Next, the article describes several social attitudes that affect informal moral thinking about old people and aging. The following section identifies methodological issues in the use of social attitudes in applied ethics thinking about the elderly, and the last section describes several applied ethics agendas that include consideration of social attitudes toward the elderly.