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In this answer, @Valorum said

...not to mention the sheer strain that comes from continually using the Force at an advanced age.

To my feeble mind, this doesn't make sense. Approaching 900 years old, Yoda is still as strong as any whippersnapper in terms of Force power and usage. Despite his old age, Obi Wan shouldn't have any problems with using his Force powers.

This got me to thinking, does the Force begin to leave you as you age? Is it a flow of Force power that goes down based on (I hate to say this) a decrease in midichlorian count as you approach your expiration date?

  • It seems to take a strain, much like any form of exertion. Older people feel this more keenly than the young. – Valorum Sep 22 '16 at 22:52
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    After lifting the X-Wing, Master Yoda seems to be exhausted and breathing heavily. It's not that he can't use the force, it's that it takes a toll. – Valorum Sep 22 '16 at 23:07
  • What does it take to transfer your 'soul' into a force ghost? – Jeeped Sep 23 '16 at 5:32
  • @Valorum I felt his breathing was more of exasperation at the path Luke was taking, as well as that he might be spending all this time training Luke for nothing. – Anoplexian Sep 23 '16 at 14:23
  • Yes, but they make pills for that now..... – PoloHoleSet Sep 26 '16 at 15:29
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While there isn't a definitive answer in the current canon, there are a couple of things to consider.

As @Valorum stated in the comment above:

After lifting the X-Wing, Master Yoda seems to be exhausted and breathing heavily. It's not that he can't use the Force, it's that it takes a toll.

However, it's unclear as to whether this is due to his age, or some other factor. For a species that lives to be almost 900, I'd find it unlikely that he'd be able to battle a Sith Lord and then 20 years later, not be able to lift an X-Wing due to his age of all things.

I'd suggest rather that he was out of practice using physically demanding Force powers, possibly preferring to spend his time meditating instead of lifting things.

Furthermore, there are no shortage of elderly Jedi/Sith

Here are some (note, these are just Jedi that show up in canon, but some of the ages are non-canon — the exact age is unknown):

  • Darth Sidious was born 84 BBY and Died 4 ABY, making him 88 years old during the final battle in Return of the Jedi (a battle which he almost won mind you). Other sources disagree, putting him at 86 though, but this still doesn't take away from the fact he's old.
  • Evan Piell was apparently pretty old, though his exact age was not known.
  • Ki-Adi-Mundi was going strong at 73 (old for his species)
  • Dooku was 83.
  • Tera Sinube
  • Jocasta Nu
  • Yaddle
  • Oppo Rancis, although it's hard to say if he was all that old for his species.

I'm sure there are even more examples in the expanded universe/legends.

Despite how powerful they are, Jedi/Sith aren't immortal. I'd suggest that as Jedi age, they tend to spend less time practicing and honing their physical strengths, which would be inherently limited by the strength of their body, and more time on their mental strengths. Keep in mind that Yoda and Obi-wan were hermits on isolated world, had they been battling the Empire on a day to day basis, I'm sure they would be better at physical tasks, instead, they were both immensely wise.

So in short, Probably Not. There are plenty of examples of Jedi elderly in body but sharp in the Force.

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    “I'd find it unlikely that he'd be able to battle a Sith Lord and then 20 years later, not be able to lift an X-Wing due to his age of all things.” — well, he can lift an X-Wing, just with apparent difficulty. But age-related decline, at least in humans, can come on pretty suddenly. – Paul D. Waite Sep 23 '16 at 13:16
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    "I'd find it unlikely that he'd be able to battle a Sith Lord and then 20 years later, not be able to lift an X-Wing due to his age of all things." I had this thought as well. I also don't feel he was exhausted, I think he was more disappointed at Luke's lack of faith and was rather exasperated. +1 though, this makes sense! – Anoplexian Sep 23 '16 at 14:21
  • Maybe it is also about Morale and ones psychological state, it appeared to me that Yoda was fed up with life, the universe and everything at this point. – Dennis Christian Dec 30 '16 at 7:17
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Yoda's health may have suffered in the 20 Years he was on Dagobah. He has gone from living a relatively comfortable lifestyle to having to live a subsistence one.

Even in the prequel films we could see his physical health was failing. He used a stick, or a floating chair to get about. If in need, for example in his fight with Count Dooku he seems to call on the force for physical strength but this seems exhausting to do.

Most force users seem to also be physically fit. It seems that using it, at least in physical ways, is physically demanding. So while Yoda may still be strong in the force his body may not be able to keep up with it.

We also see this with Ben and Vader. There fight on the death star is very slow and cumbersome compared to their battle of 20 years earlier. Both still seem to be able to use the force with ease for mind tricks and force chokes. The only real use of physical power we see from Vader is throwing things at a barely trained Luke on Bespin.

In Contrast with him having limited physical prowess, we can see that his force vision (or whatever it is called) is still sharp. He has been watching Luke from across the galaxy.

This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away, to the future, to the horizon.

He has been conversing with at least Ezra and Kanan Jarrus (from rebels), albeit with the help of a Jedi Temple.

These are powers that seem pretty extraordinary, so it seems when it is not physically demanding he is strong in the force but his body is giving out which makes certain things more difficult for him.

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So far there is nothing pointing to a decrease in force potential due to an advanced age (else a specific Luke would have had no problem defeating the emperor who was a very old human at that time).

The problem with Yoda is that he was approaching death already and died only a few years later. From other answers it sounds likely that he actively used the force during the last Skywalker visit to even be alive until he could tell him all that needed to be told (about Vader and his family).

So in all likelyhood it could be that Yoda is already doing this at the moment of the first visit of Luke (thus using the force to stay alive). But sadly currently there is no way to know for sure in the canon.

Despite this like I mentioned there is currently no indicateion of the force waning when one ages (else Yoda wouldn't have been able to hold up that long against the emperor in Episode 3). The only possible indication is that either it is as I had mentioned above OR that the force abilities wane when one is nearing his natural time of death (but sadly that is all assumption as there is no canon reference there that I'm aware of).

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The force doesn't wane unless the individual allows it to wane. It is a connection that needs to be practiced frequently to be strong! The force flows through the user and communicates with him or her. The force has a mind of its own...so to speak.

  • This is awesome, but do you have any references to support your answer? – Anoplexian Sep 26 '16 at 14:36

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