How do we address older people?
Is there an accepted, respectable term to identify old people? Yes, but what’s an old person, someone over 65yrs old? Hold on, a lot of us now work until we are 68yrs+, so is it that you are an old person when you retire? We at Just Company, provide companions to elderly people and we are struggling with what defines an elderly person as elderly? People who don’t work? Well Prince Philip has just retried from public duties and he is 95yrs old. Currently in the UK there are more than 10 million over 65yr olds and by 2050 it will be over 20 million, that’s 16.5% of the current population. So when do we become an older person and how should we be referred to? Coffin dodgers, old people, seniors, OAP’s, senior citizens, elderly, elders, fossils, biddy and so on are all terms which are loaded stereotypes. Stereotypes so often laughed at in Little Britain. These serotypes pre-determines a response, a standard expectation. I must say one of my biggest bugbears is when I see someone talking to an old person as if they are deaf, blind and 3 yrs old. In my day you respected yours and others grandparents they were the ones who were wise, who knew and supported us young ones. Respect was the name of the game. OAP – Old Age Pensioner, if that does not rub it in then I don’t know what would. An acronym that reminds us three times that we are old. Also, some people can’t get their pension until 68yrs, does this mean you can not be addressed as an OAP until you are in receipt of your pension…… We have to remember we are not talking about a minority group but a growing majority. Here at the Just Company office we are discussing our publicity and have chased our tails for days as to how we describe/refer to our client group who are not young at all. It got so bad the other day we had to stop for some tea and cheesecake (thanks to Shirley who is so good at making cheese cake). Wikipedia states old age refers to ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings. OK, so this means a different lexicon in each county (different life expectancies) and if you are referred to as old age then it is considered that you have reached your sell by date. Not sure about that one. So what’s the answer, we have come up with older person, what do you think? Please comment  

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