Why do elves suffer aging effects in 3.5E?

D&D 3.5 rules specify the effects of aging when reaching middle, old, and venerable age. These effects are the same for all races, with only the age at which they’re reached changing. Forgotten Realms lore states that elves age gracefully and remain full of life until near death. So why should they get the same penalties of age that humans get? Has this ever been addressed?