In reponse to an article about vitamin D insufficiency and a related study in our local Denver Post, I got a response to my letter:
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2008 11:51 AM
To: Brown, Suzanne
Subject: "Elderly" not getting enough Vitamin D . . .
are all terms which have no specific meanings. Ask a 20 year-old who is "elderly" or in their "sunset Years" or a "senior," and he will think that is someone over 50.
Ask someone 50 and you will get an entirely different response.
The use of the age range 65-89 was appropriate - although one does wonder what happens to someone 90.
Why not use specific ages throughout the entire article, instead of non-meaningful, subject to interpretation, nouns and adjectives?
I happen to be 68 years old, bicycle 150 miles per week, swim a couple of miles per week, lift some pretty heavy weights, and walked 3.5 miles yesterday am. This morning, I swam 10 laps and biked 20 miles. I am involved in national political issues and am giving a paper in Baltimore next Monday.
I don't consider myself to be "elderly," or a "senior," or "in my sunset years."
Thanks for reading.
Denver C. Fox, Ed.D.
Thanks for writing. You are right that these terms have different meanings depending on the audience. As writers, we struggle at times to find the right words and sometimes don't think about how those words might be interepreted. I appreciate the reminder and congratulate you on staying in such excellent physical condition.
Suzanne S. Brown
The Denver Post
101 W. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80202
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