How old is ‘el­derly’ these days?

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWSLETTER -

el much more in­tel­li­gent a Seenager. be­cause they know so much. ally with age, it just takes ecause they have more

akes you hard of hear­ing nner ear. Also, older peo­ple get some­thing and when ere won­der­ing what they

, it is na­ture’s way of mak­ing se. SO THERE!! I have his to, but right now I can’t please for­ward this to your nds too! Should we even be us­ing the term at all?

It was like a bolt out of the blue that left us gob­s­macked and reel­ing. Peo­ple say you never know when it will hap­pen and, shock­ingly, for my Mum it was dur­ing a rou­tine med­i­cal check-up ear­lier this year.

She was 69 and work­ing as a reg­is­tered nurse when the doc­tor turned to her and ca­su­ally dropped the bomb­shell. He called her el­derly!

In the days that fol­lowed we searched for an­swers. Well, I did. Ad­mit­tedly Mum was far less both­ered than I was; her re­ac­tion was more a wry cu­rios­ity in the term and how it couldn’t pos­si­bly ap­ply to her. Vir­ginia Fal­lon. Here are ex­am­ples from three peo­ple as to how they feel about the term ‘el­derly’.

Car­toon­ist Tom Scott says his gen­er­a­tion is re­ject­ing the term “el­derly” sim­ply by re­fus­ing to die.

“If you dropped a nu­clear weapon on down­town Auck­land, out of the smok­ing rub­ble would come cock­roaches, rats and Baby Boomers.” His gen­er­a­tion is so tough, he says, it would take a me­te­orite shower to wipe them out, much as it did the di­nosaurs!

Then there’s Manawatu vet­eri­nar­ian John He­witt, 72, who says he’s not el­derly but, tongue firmly in cheek, of­fers a de­scrip­tion of those who are. “I’d say an el­derly per­son is in some way com­pro­mised in their ac­tiv­i­ties be­cause of their health; some­where be­tween 90 and 110 years old.” And fi­nally, call­ing 71-year-old An­neke Bor­ren “el­derly” would be both fool­ish and po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous to one’s health. The renowned ce­ramic artist says the very men­tion of the word is an­noy­ing, and she would be “se­ri­ously of­fended” if some­one used it to de­scribe her! “I’d be fu­ri­ous, be­cause it’s not true.” Last year she sold her house, packed up her be­long­ings and went on the run – in a camper­van made for one. Old age can’t catch her if she keeps mov­ing!

Age is of no im­por­tance un­less you are cheese or wine!

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