Words, Words, Words

Oldyoung_2

"Us as we age"

Based on a survey of American journalists who cover ageing and associated issues across different media, this CS Monitor article, examines the words used in writing about older people, seniors, the elderly, elders, senior citizens Baby Boomers and Boomers.

The word most favoured is older – as in old people, older citizens, older Americans – and the least liked is elderly, because of its " ‘impersonal and stigmatizing manner’ of grouping older people together with images of frailty and decline".

Personally speaking I agree – older is good because it suggests process and dynamism – not a steady state of old age. However, I also try to use the phrase "us as we age" as much as possible because, like it or not, today we will all grow older and it is as well to remind ourselves that no one is immune from the ageing process. "Us as we age" forces us to confront, as policy makers, designers or technologists that we are arguing for change, innovation etc for ourselves, not some distanced social group outside of our social world.