Words We Use to Describe Older People

Are We The Non-Young?

Most of us reading this are beyond middle age. We are a lively group with well-earned lines on our faces and wisdom behind the twinkle in our eyes. The beauty we have carried all our lives is now peppered with the life we are living. We have stopped competing with our younger version, not seen in our mirror for many years. 

I have gotten into a few heated conversations with women and men about terminology used to describe the Baby Boomer Woman. Working with these women over the years, I think I am sensitive to the wording in conversations about size and fit. I think I am sensitive to the wording about our age group, but, I am also sensitive to myself. Creating marketing for an older woman is very difficult. I have to constantly cradle the vocabulary.

I am a realist. I am 62 years old. I am not young. I have come to realize the word “aging”, for so many, is a negative word.

Because my customer niche is mostly women over 50, I do a lot of marketing focusing on this generation. Obviously, I try to use keywords that get a lot of exposure to my customer base. This is what I have discovered.

I can’t use senior, elderly, mature, older. Women I have talked to actually get upset with me. 

I know we are living longer, healthier lives. In these women’s minds, older means granny. Senior means our grandmother. I get it. How I remember my grandmother is definitely not what I see with many of my customers. But, when we remember our grandmother, we are remembering through the eyes of a child, or a young adult. Through our young eyes, yes, our elderly looked so old! How could we possibly be the same? 

Is this the fear of aging? Not accepting the word, how does this make it more palatable? And why is the word so negative? Isn’t aging part of our process? Ignoring the words does not stop us from aging. Denial doesn’t cut it! To me, it is looking backward and it doesn't work. 

What does work, is finding some incredible positives earned with aging. I know this is difficult to do all the time, especially when my hip hurts, but I focus on what I am now. My 62-year-old self is so much more confident, in total control of my own life, value and appreciate the life I am living, and do my darndest to acknowledge this every day. 

I am tired of tiptoeing around the semantics. The “aging” words are only negative if we think they are. We empower our own interpretation. 

Some may ask, why do we even have to label ourselves? We don’t. But the next time you want to find a blouse that is not cut with a junior pattern, you may run into a lot of fitting problems. I want products marketed to my age group. My needs keep changing and these products are helpful. That doesn't mean I am cut off from the rest of the world, I just have some options created specifically for me and my 62-year-old world. 

I don’t understand what is so wrong with this?

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