Thursday, July 2, 2009


What's in a name? Plenty, if you are referring to those over 50. This age group is fussy about being politically correct when you address them. Herein lies my problem. Whenever I write about the 50+ for my blog, I often ask myself which title or label is the most appropriate to refer to them? The 50+ is not a homogenous group.

Take, for example, this lady in her 70s. I had emailed her to ask for permission to post a picture and a write-up of her on my blog. Here's what she said: “Your blog is for seniors. I don’t fit in. I think of myself as forever young”.
How does one respond to that?

It is always interesting to note the reaction whenever I give my blog card to people who bear the telltale signs of age 50+. It's usually the ladies who feel a tad insulted. Most will go into denial mode. "I'm not a senior. No way!" Men, on the other hand, react differently. They are either amused or at a loss for words to respond.
Why are people so sensitive and secretive about their age?

(Slide taken from a presentation by Warner Leisure Hotels at a recent Older Richer Wiser conference.)

For sure, there are folks out there who do not take too kindly to being called “senior citizens”. “Baby boomers” won’t do either – it’s too American. How about “retirees” or “pensioners”? Fine, but what about those who are still actively working or running their own business?

To be put in the category of “the aged” or “the elderly” would definitely draw the wrath of those in their 50s or 60s who pride themselves as being youthful and energetic.

So at what age do we draw the line?

Does it really matter? Yes, if you are in the business of selling to the 50+ market. And yes, if you are writing about this demographic group. Otherwise, probably no

After all, a senior by any other name is still a senior. The numbers on the birth certicate don't lie.


Unknown said...

I believe "Older adults" are also acceptable.

Starmandala said...

"Veterans" has a slightly heroic ring to it!