Seniors or older adults at 60

               Stigma of ageing

An older person is defined by the United Nations as a person who is over 60 years of age. However, families and communities often use other socio-cultural referents to define age, including family status (grandparents), physical appearance, or age-related health conditions.

Senior citizens are also known as elderly persons or simply as seniors. Categorically, a senior citizen is a social demographic based on age. Someone who is 35, for example, cannot be a senior. Being a senior citizen typically means that a person is at the age at which they retire from work.

Senior is one of the most common euphemisms for old people and happens to be the one I hate the most. To me, senior implies that people who receive the label are different and somehow lesser than those who don’t. 

Of course, the word senior can also be used to signify experience and endow prestige—as in senior vice president of marketing—but not all older people interpret it that way in the context of later life.

The fact that people don’t often voluntarily relate to this term is a strong reason to not apply it to them. One news report indicates that 50.8 percent of older adults surveyed said they were not comfortable with that term.

I  have seen people, who refrain from the term senior citizen and don’t join such programs which are specially conducted for seniors.

My question is…Is being a senior a curse? In my opinion, being senior is a respectful transition to the next phase in life. 

In a blog post on Next Avenue, San Diego State University Professor Emeritus E. Percil Stanford notes, “The moniker ‘senior citizen’ tends to cast a shadow that suggests a ‘less-than’ quality, particularly one of dependence. The ‘older person’ should be a symbol of strength and a repository of treasured experiences and wisdom.”

It doesn’t mean that life has come to an end or they have nothing to do in their life now. Once people are past middle age, they’re old. That’s how life progresses: You’re young, you’re middle-aged, then you’re old.

Of course, calling someone old is generally not considered polite, because the word, accurate though it might be, is frequently considered pejorative. It’s a label that people tend to shy away from. 

Classifying old age is a bit perplexing, given that old age has to start sometime. “I wouldn’t say [65] is old,” says Susan Jacoby, the author of Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age, “but I know it’s not middle age—how many 130-year-olds do you see wandering around?”

 Older adults now have the most diverse life experiences of any age group. Some are working, some are retired, some are hitting the gym every day, and others suffer from chronic disabilities. Some are traveling around the world, some are raising their grandchildren, and they represent as many as three different generations. No one term can conjure up that variety.

Aging is inevitable and everyone is aging all the time. (A popular alternative, of course, is to forgo broad labels and specify the ages in question. The age cutoffs for its generational cohorts, and the New York Times stylebook prefers people in their 70s or people over 80 to elderly.

 Referring to a broader group, “A term we often use is people age 50 and up and/or people 50-plus,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, the CEO of AARP. “It’s factual and common sense.”) 

Tagging everyone over 60 as an elderly or senior citizen is not right. 60  is more or less arbitrary—there’s certainly no biological basis for it. “For policy-planning purposes, ‘over 75’ is a much more meaningful demographic than ‘over 60.’ People between the ages of 60 and 75 are often more similar to people in middle age.

Focusing on a particular number seems misguided. Take two 60-year-old people, one can have dementia and the other can be justice in a supreme court.

All those people who call 65 “middle-aged” aren’t delusional—they probably just don’t want to be denied their right to have ambitions and plans for the stretch of their life that’s still ahead of them, even if that stretch is a lot shorter than the one behind them.

I have friends 10 or 15 years older than me. They are energetic and capable of doing everything I do. Not being a senior citizen can’t stop me from writing about this topic which I strongly felt while attending a few senior meets in my own condominium. We owe our time and respect to our elders, irrespective of whether them being senior citizens or not.

I know that a blanket cover of senior citizen label for everyone who is 60 plus can not be justified as people in their 70s,80s, and 90s are all senior citizens which puts our parents and us in the same category.😊 This is the reason people don’t voluntarily accept they are 60 or above. Everyone wants to live longer, but no one wants to be old.

In my opinion older adult is a better terminology for senior citizens. It will be honest. As everyone is older than someone. Longevity is an achievement, not a curse. Older seems cheerfully free of any stigma that accompanies labels like an elderly or senior citizen.

Last but not the least, the older generation has contributed a lot to our society and they are still learning and growing. They have gotten this far and are an important part of our family and society. If we embrace a new terminology, we encourage them to be who they are and live their life with full vibrancy and enthusiasm unhindered by any labels.

After all, age is just a number😊😊

Published by Anita Vij

A caring mother of 2. A loving wife. An aspiring individual who wishes to share her life-long learnings with the rest of the world.

40 thoughts on “Seniors or older adults at 60

      1. Comprehensive input! To each their own, where is my comfort level–that is the key, how much self esteem I possess. Another angle, I am paying more attention to the outer? Where do I stand internally?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Confidence is very important at this age so if you are paying attention to your outer, nothing is wrong in that. Looking good is feeling good. Internally you boost your inner strength and love for life. Do new things, help people…this will give inner happiness to you. I hope it helps.😊🙏🏻

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  1. I’m on board with all of this, but can we have a frank discussion about whether people are 75 or will become so during a term of public office ought to be able to hold those high offices past that age, such as Congress, the Presidency or the Supreme Court? Recent experience has not been good in the US. At a certain point you stop getting better at your job with age. Advances in technology may push the age limit out and some 75 year olds are more competent than others. But no one as better at work at 75 than they were at 60.

    Just my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Steven, I totally agree with you that no one can give their best at 75. After all, health is most important when it comes to performing at the office or otherwise. My point was just to indicate that 60 is not as old as people think. Tagging them as senior citizens is not doing any justice to them. Even 70 is not that old if health conditions are favorable. We should respect our elders and help them with whatever we can do but not sideline them by putting them in the senior citizen category.
      An older adult is the more polite term for a senior citizen.
      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your views. Please keep doing the same. 😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right! A 75 or older can do lots of things … in many cases. Practice law or medicine. Probably some offices as well. I sure hope 60 is not old! I’m marching towards it! It’s closer to me than 40 when I was really probably 25 in actual maturity!😂

        Have a nice weekend!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I would like to give an example of our respected PM Modi Ji. He is 70 plus and I haven’t anyone more energetic than him. It depends from person to person and health is an important factor also. 60 doesn’t seem old in any case so you can up your spirits and feel younger for so many coming years from now. 😃 😃 Feel like a 25-year-old and you will act like that.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I know a little about him. He sounds like one of the best leaders in the world. If the people are comfortable with his leadership then keeping him into his 70s or beyond is the prerogative of the governed free people of Singapore. If you all are happy w him it’s your business. Nelson Mandela of South Africa was extraordinarily competent into his eighties. Both remarkable older leaders. One nice thing about parliamentary systems is the party in power can change PM whenever it wants. If Modi Ji lost it he could pretty easily be transitioned. We here in America are stuck with with who we elect President for 4 years. There is a constitutional provision to deal with an incapacitated president but it’s never been used.

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  2. As a an over 60 year old, I consider myself thankful for all the days God has blessed me with. Looking back over my years, I think back to my beautiful sister who died at only 49 years old of cancer. She didn’t get to even see 50. Each day is a blessing. . .so many do not get more years. . .
    I agree with what you have written. Most importantly, the younger generation can learn from the wisdom (and mistakes) of the previous generation. Truth is, I feel that older people (especially in the United States) are not respected. The most insulting term is “boomers” meant to refer to those born post WW II (1946-1964). We are often stereotyped as doddering old fools who are no longer useful to society. It’s quite hurtful and disrespectful. My question is: is it the same in your country? I honestly fear growing older in the United States because of the open hostility towards older persons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right. Being senior is a blessing, not a curse. We celebrate our birthday because one more year is added to our life. Not respecting older people shows their culture and upbringing. Everyone is useful to society and not knowing their importance is foolishness on their part.
      I will answer your question very honestly. In India generally, old people are safe and respected by their family but exceptions are always there, As more and more children are going abroad for jobs and studies and settle down there itself, they tend to forget their roots after some time. . Otherwise I think India is better in terms of respect for elderly. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Jenny, as I don’t know the culture of other countries, I can’t give you any advice in that respect. Asian culture is better than western culture, in my opinion. Take your decision after giving it much thought as it will be a big lifetime decision for you. Thanks

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Anita, for responding to my question. I’ll definitely do my research before making a decision. I’ll also visit places . . . Just thinking, though. You are probably aware of the extreme increase in violence here in the U.S. . . It’s getting more frightening day by day. Please say a pray for me and the U.S. . .Thank you. Have a beautiful week ahead. . .

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I recently went to a discussion on reddit for “advice from the elderly” only to find out from the moderator post that the “elderly” responders had to have been born before 1980. That’s 42 years old lol! I had no idea that was “elderly.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Seniors or older adults at 60 – BBQDAD Survival Every Day
  5. अगर आपका स्वास्थ्य और आपकी मानसिक दशा फिट है, और आपकी आर्थिक चिंताएं मेनेज की जा सकती हैं तो सीनियर सिटिजन की जिंदगी कहीं बेहतर है जीवन के किसी और मुकाम से.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I appreciate your perspective. I am probably an outlier, so I can’t speak for my fellow “over-60” brothers and sisters, but I embrace my age, appreciate that I’m still alive and active, don’t care at all what labels people hang on me (even derogatory labels), because I don’t measure my self-worth based on others opinions, one of the baked-in benefits of maturing. That said, I do find it regrettable that young people (myself included when I was young) often don’t appreciate the wisdom that can accumulate with age and experience. But that’s the youngsters’ loss, not mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are absolutely right Tim. If youngsters don’t appreciate the wisdom and knowledge of elders it’s their loss. Attaining the status of a super senior is not easy if we think sensibly. Being active at this age is an achievement in itself. Proper diet and exercise with a disciplined lifestyle is a must for that. Everyone is aging, be it our youngsters or elders. I respect your views. Thank you so much for sharing your point of view here.😊🌹

      Like

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