Population aging is becoming a significant concern, particularly as its pace accelerates, especially in emerging market economies. However, labeling all individuals aged 65 and above as elderly can be misleading and inaccurate when life expectancy is increasing. Therefore, using the prospective old-age dependency ratio to define what is elderly would allow for more precise measurements and facilitate research into the impact of aging on economic growth. Our findings suggest that while a negative relationship between aging and economic growth at the global level was more prominent before 1990, this negative effect has decreased over time. Moreover, the population nearing retirement age exhibits an increasing contribution to growth. Harnessing the potential of those typically deemed old by traditional measures, yet who remain productive, could effectively bolster economic development. Additionally, we find that the impact of aging on growth varies across individual economies in the ASEAN+3 region. The accumulation of human capital and technological advancements appears to mitigate negative effect from aging, underscoring the need for economies to promote both as their populations age.