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Is “elderly” politically correct?

Posted By Alejandra Owens On October 21, 2008 @ 1:54 pm In Your Life | 5 Comments

I found this really interesting. A recent piece by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution [1]talks about how 60 is the new 40; in other words, a cultural shift has occurred in the way society views older Americans. The stereotypical image of grandmas in wheelchairs and with canes is being replaced with active and healthy older adults. In other words, people are living longer, and living healthier lives.
I particularly found the thoughts of Pat McVicar, assistant director with the local Area Agency on Aging in California, interesting. She said that the term “elderly” should be thrown out altogether – the preferred terminology is “seniors” or “older adults.” Even many active older Americans don’t consider themselves “seniors” at all.
This makes total sense considering the stigmas attached to the word “elderly”; folks don’t want to be associated with negative stereotypes. But is this rejecting the fact that aging is a reality and not necessarily a bad thing? What are you thoughts? Do you think “elderly” is politically incorrect?


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[1] the Atlanta-Journal Constitution : http://www.ajc.com/search/content/homefinder/activeadult/stories/2008/10/20/elderly_label.html

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