What's With These Words For People Over 50?!
We are appalled. We recently read about a new company in Ireland that is creating a club, the Freebird, to connect people over 50 who have spare rooms with people over 50 who are looking for companionship when they travel. The founder of this company talks about the folks they wish to serve as “elderly.” We are all in favor of services for people who want to form new communities. While not our cup of tea, this is a good idea. But, for Pete’s sake, don’t call us “elderly.” That is a really yucky word.
And then there’s The Economist, a savvy magazine if there ever was one. In a relatively short column entitled “Golden Oldies," each of these words were used: “wrinkly populations,” “Granny,” “old,” “elderly,” “oldies". This population, which controls trillions of dollars in spending power, will not spend it on people who refer to them as “wrinkly”.
We weren't born yesterday. We acknowledge our wrinkles, but so what? That's not our defining characteristic. It's also a bad image. And bad images diminish us, in our own and others' eyes. We are proud of who we are and how we look. The words used to describe us should reflect who we really are and what we still can do.