“I like the idea of reclaiming the world 'elder,'" wrote Jill, "even though I don't think it fits me or other people in the 50-70 stage which today seems to be late middle age. I prefer older to elder because it includes more people.”
My respect for Jill and her blog knows no bounds, but on this we disagree. It only takes a letter or two to make a difference in a word. “Elderly” feels frail to me. “Elder”, on the other hand, is a fine old word that has fallen into disuse and at age 64, I am comfortable with it, even proud to wear it. It is worth wondering if some people’s rejection of elder (not to imply that it is Jill’s reason) reflects the culture’s abhorrence of aging...
There are many words for “old” which can be positive, pejorative and points in-between. So it might be fun to see how TGB readers rank them in terms of preference.
Below is a poll containing some of the more common words used for old people. They are listed alphabetically to avoid any bias that might ensue from my personal ordering of the names. If you have other thoughts or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments section.
Select your favorites (multiple choices are allowed) and see how they compare.
[See also Name Game Poll Results]