Al Power weighs in on the “Elderly” controversy…
While the word “elderly” COULD carry any connotation, the usual result in our society is that it suggests an image of a frail, broken, dependent person. The rather common usage, therefore, of a term that paints aging in such a negative light contributes to the negative image of older people that ChangingAging and other culture change movements try to dispel.
We are hoping that people will come to see elderhood as a distinct developmental stage–not purely defined by loss of physical ability, but rather a synthesis of life experiences into a form of wisdom and perspective not generally seen in younger adults. This is borne out by many studies that show older adults process information through a richer emotional and psychological tapestry.
Word choice is all about neuroliguistic programming. Certain words can bias our view of people, and we choose a more positive language, in order to help us make the paradigm shift to a more positive view of aging.