I recently attended a meeting of professionals who work with older adults. The group was made up of senior advisors, care providers, senior communities, and many who perform some type of fiduciary duty, including myself. One thing that I find consistent, if you work with older adults you have a passion for working with older adults. Therefore, emotions can from time to time bubble to the surface.
At one point in the meeting one of my colleagues used the term “seniors” in describing the demographic she works. “They don’t want to be called ‘seniors,’” another colleague interjected. She went on emphatically, “Oh no, you don’t want to call them ‘seniors.’” Now, this is not the first time I’ve heard this, but I couldn’t help but think, “who’s ‘them?’ And, what does ‘them’ want to be called?” I suppose I was reacting to the irritations I frequently experience in our politically correct world of labels. “I’m this, or that, but not that. When you think of me please use the follow words….”
I know that aging, and the idea of aging, affects everyone differently to a certain degree. I happen to be in my mid-fifties, and I lead a very active lifestyle. So, my daily concerns start as I get out of bed in the morning and assess my aches and pains. Also, I admit that I’m somewhat alarmed at the degree that my hair is greying. Since I work with much older adults I am very much aware that challenges and concerns increase substantially as we age, and some are very real concerns. And, I would not want to in anyway minimize those concerns. But, I embrace aging! I know how fortunate I am that I am in good health. I enjoy watching what I eat. I enjoying running, going to the gym, and yoga. But, I accept the fact I’m getting older, and that these challenges, and aches and pains, are going to increase. I probably came to terms with aging when I received my AARP card in the mail on my 50th birthday. And I was ok with that.
The term “seniors” has a whole new meaning for me. It means, “Heck yeh, I have grey hair! Heck yeh, I like watching Johnny Carson re-runs! Call me what you want. Aged, older adult, senior, advanced in age (for the Biblical minded), developed in age, alter cocker (for my Yiddish speaking friends), or Baby Boomer. And, more recently, “Matures,” yikes! As one older friends said to me, “I have many more years no matter what you call me.”