What’s with the name-calling?

I read “Today” newspaper recently and saw a reader comment about using the term “mature citizens” instead of the more common “elderly”. He shared, “… we should change our perceptions to elevate their position. They should not be viewed as weak, in constant need of assistance and handouts, and treated with pity.”

I couldn’t agree more that we need to change our perceptions but I wonder does using a term really matter that much in doing so. There is also the term “senior citizens” and “older persons”. Sometime back, someone shared with me yet another term “good lifers”, where yes, it sounds positive but you can’t quite distinguish between whether you are referring to seniors (sorry) or to those below 50. Is that what we want? Or, maybe we shouldn’t use a term at all.

I read on AirTalk, 89.3 KPCC public radio website in the US that even ageing Americans are miffed by all this ageing brouhaha. As like most countries with a growing ageing population of over 65, they find such labelling offensive.

And then there’s other terms related to ageing that have cropped up in news stories including terms like “silver tsunami” (which by the way, on the record, I hate as that conjures up negativity of ageing) and the recent “successful ageing” in a Minister’s speech, a new take from the old buzzword – “active ageing”.

So let’s put things to rest. Should we call a spade a spade or should we just eliminate all this name-calling as I can’t keep it straight what is proper to use? Or maybe we should take these things less seriously and just embrace who we are, age-spots, wrinkles and all?


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