By Regents Garden on 13/04/2020 8:00:00 AM
Over time, our concept of aging has changed. But is the way we talk about old age and aging keeping up? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what it means to use terms like ‘active elderly’ and ‘seniors’ over others, and why we need to adjust our perception of what ‘old age’ means in the modern era.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in 2017 over 1 in 7 Australians were over the age of 65. That’s a sizeable part of our population, and how we describe the older members of our society reflects how we respect and appreciate them.
Language is dynamic — as we find new ways to describe our experiences, we update the language we use to reflect our changing understanding of concepts. And, with aging, this process of updating shouldn’t be any different.
Taking care with the ideas behind the words we use
Words like ‘elderly’ or ‘aged’ easily convey ideas of frailty and irrelevance. Though using terms like ‘active elderly’ heads in a positive direction, older people are increasingly enjoying a better quality of life than ever before and even these adaptations can carry vestiges of their old connotations. As older people have the most experience to draw on when tackling life’s challenges, choosing words that reflect their continued creativity, vitality and contribution is essential. Doing so can help grow a more inclusive society, and frame the process of aging more positively for everyone, too!
Breaking stereotypes with words
It can seem difficult to find the right words. But using terms that older people themselves prefer — ones that frame aging positively — go a long way towards breaking disempowering stereotypes. It also reflects today’s reality more accurately — your lifestyle as an older adult isn’t characterised by losing an interest in life or a diminishing ability to contribute to the world.
Is language reflecting the changing retiree lifestyle?
Making room for new terms that align with how older adults self-describe ensures that our use of language remains kind, respects their agency and is accurate. Today, the trend is towards using the term “older adults” because, after all, it’s based on fact! Older people have lived longer than most others. They’re also faced with choices and opportunities that weren’t the norm before, like a plethora of living options to suit the lifestyle they choose to build for themselves.
Like the terminology we use to describe aging, the lifestyle needs of someone older changes over time. At Regents Garden, for instance, we strive to serve the older members of our community in a professional and financially disciplined way. Enhancing their quality of life with our range of aged care residences in Perth is one of the best gifts we can give.
Contact us to chat about what living option best supports the vibrant, independent life they deserve. Alternatively, The Essential Guide To Choosing The Right Aged Care is a great overview of what the options are, and help you find the perfect match. Click here and download your own copy.