We live by words. They are what define us (in many regards) and portray what we think ad how we feel.
The words used by healthcare, residential and social services professionals caring for older consumers are really revealing. Nursing center professionals talk about “facilities” when the only other things in our culture to which this word applies are toilets and prisons. Residential care staff (assisted living and age-qualified hosing) talks about “placing” a family member in one of their residences – like mom were a potted plant.
Ina Jaffe explored this subject from a marketing and public relations point of view in a piece National Public Radio. (http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=313133555&m=313844282)
Words like “senior” and “aged” are decidedly unpopular among the cohorts being referenced. So how do you talk about, and refer to persons over retirement age (65), over 70, over 80 and older?