In my experience, my elderly [oops, elder] and now advanced-dementia mother has maintained all her knowledge gained in pre-dementia falls prevention programs. Strangely, or miraculously, she still has immediate recall of what to do when she falls [i.e. she knows to roll onto her side, and push her body along with her hands (and feet) until she can reach something that might help hoist her body upwards]. It’s ingrained. She also still watches her feet very carefully when she’s stepping down an incline… whether it’s gradual or steps.
But tell me, Dr Bill, why the resistance to the word ‘elderly’? It’s the adjective of the noun ‘elder’. Why do you find the word ‘elderly’ so dirty and demeaning, and what would you suggest, alternatively, as a descriptive [i.e. adjective]? Really, it’s quite an interesting discussion.
Bill is in Denver this week for the Planetree conference on patient-centered care, so I’m not sure when he will be able to respond to Helen. But we want to hear from ChangingAging readers first — how do you feel about the word “elderly”? Do we have any readers who have been called “elderly” and can tell us how they feel about the word?