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"Seniors" or something else?

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"Seniors" or something else?

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Old 06-19-07, 07:49 PM
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BSLeVan
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"Seniors" or something else?

I'm doing some consulting work with an organization that has historically been a "Multi-Purpose Senior Center." They are in the process of redefining who they are and who they serve (moving from serving those 65+ to those 50+). The board of directors has read the literature pointing toward a very real shift in the way people age, as evidenced on this forum on a daily basis. In any event, they are searching for words that appeal to their target population. Most of the studies we've found indicate the "Senior" is NOT the title many baby boomers want. Hence, I ask all of you, what is your preference? Currently, they are leaning toward "active mature adult".
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Old 06-19-07, 07:57 PM
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That is an excellent question.

Words that need not be used: senior, mature (sorry), golden, active (sorry), over the hill, vintage.

Patronizing words won't cut it, either.

Joe Queenan wrote an entire book on this topic, entitled "Balsalmic Dreams". It was very funny. He would say, "Just call yourselves old people and get over it, dork". I don't agree with him, though.
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Old 06-19-07, 08:05 PM
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Old 06-19-07, 08:49 PM
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This is a real dumb question. Why do they feel the need to age identify the center? Can't it just be a multi purpose center? Like Junction City Multi Purpose Center?
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Old 06-19-07, 08:53 PM
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I prefer "old fart".
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Old 06-19-07, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by BSLeVan
Currently, they are leaning toward "active mature adult".
I would agree with my friend Terrierman on this one, but if pressed for some sort of identifier, I would go with "adult".
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Old 06-19-07, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Terrierman
This is a real dumb question. Why do they feel the need to age identify the center? Can't it just be a multi purpose center? Like Junction City Multi Purpose Center?

They exist in a highly competitive market compounded by the reality that only 25% of their funding comes from typical sources that normally fund "senior centers." They must find a way to strike an interesting balance. On one hand they serve older people who are becoming frail and need supports to remain functional and safe in the community. However, there are inadequate funds to maintain these operations. They have reliable demographic data that suggests the baby boomers have much more disposable income that they are willing to spend to pursue things in which they have an interest. However, the boomers don't want to be associated with the image of the frail older person who needs supports. At the same time, these boomers want to have access to services that remove them from the kind of experiences they might find in a fitness center (described by one respondent to a survey as the "meat market" mentality where young and buff are all that matter.) One of the only things they haven't been able to do is find a descriptive terms that sits well with the folks who may spend enough to actually subsidize other parts of their operations. These boomers have many choices in this particular market, and the attempt to appeal to them on a level that matches their view of themselves as they age is not dumb. Rather, I think it is a responsible approach to planning for the health of their organization. But, hey, I've been wrong about things before....
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Old 06-19-07, 09:30 PM
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Olde Farte Multi-Purpose Centre...
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Old 06-19-07, 10:07 PM
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Old 06-19-07, 10:25 PM
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Grey-haired kids.

Have any of you seen these new hearing aids? Very cool! I bet this is just the beginning of re-invented "senior" aids for aging baby boomers. http://www.phonak.com/company/mediac...72E43BF68C753D
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Old 06-19-07, 10:35 PM
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Old 06-19-07, 10:38 PM
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I hate being called a Senior, but I hate even more that I hate being called a Senior. What's the big deal? I'm older than I used to be. I'm an Old Fart, a geezer, a senior, a golden ager, you name it, and someone is going to call me that name. What really matters is how I look at myself. Sticks and stones and bike crashes can break my bones, but words (at least, these words) can never hurt me.

Call me whatever you want. But please don't call me late to dinner.
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Old 06-19-07, 11:15 PM
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At 52, I certainly don't consider myself to be a senior adult.

That may have been a strong perception back when someone who was 52 only expected to live another 10-15 years. But now once you live to 52, odds are that you will live another 30 years (or more). Too much life still ahead of us to think of ourselves as seniors.

Frankly, I suspect a lot of 65 year olds aren't real keen on the term.
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Old 06-19-07, 11:31 PM
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Never actually gave it a thought, but it's true that most people around 50 still think of themselves as fairly young, and with some reason. My dad was active all his life until a few weeks before he died at 83. But I remember when he turned 40, everyone including his doctor told him to take it easy, act his age, don't strain yourself. I ran my fastest marathon at 44, which shows you how that's changed, and improved on the bike every year from the time I started cycling seriously at 45 until last year, when some surgery kept me off the bike most of the summer (I'm 62 now).
I don't MIND being called a "senior," and I'll take senior discounts, but the term has connotations for a lot of people that just aren't accurate anymore. "Senior Center" sounds like a place where they spoon-feed geezers in wheelchairs.
The problem, though, is that EVERYTHING sounds like a euphemism: Mature, senior, aging, Golden Agers are all just annoying. I think of myself as "middle aged," I guess, but that's not accurate unless I'm going to live to be 124.
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Old 06-20-07, 12:35 AM
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I can walk up steps without any problems. I can cut my 1/2 acre of grass without "riding" on a mower, if I choose. I can run almost as fast as I could when I was younger. I can throw a baseball quite well, thank you. I can lift and carry 50 pound bags of softener salt down steps to my basement. Blah, blah, blah.

^(I'm reminded of the "Seinfeld" character Mr. Mendelbaum. "Mendelbaum, Mendelbaum".)^

I know many folks, much younger than me, who won't or can't walk from their cars to the fast food counter of a McGarbage restuarant, they rely on the drive up window.

I'll take any "senior" discounts they want to hand me, no problem. I enjoy the respect I seem to be getting these days. At age 64, I really don't care what they call me. If they call me a name that is less than politically correct for someone my age...I really don't care.

The joke is on them.
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Old 06-20-07, 12:49 AM
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Hey, it's really, really important what you call yourself. Rule #1 in seizing political power is to take the lexical high ground. The best example is the feminist movement. Women, being generally more verbally adroit than men, were able to make incredible gains by seizing the lexical high ground. Therefore, a person who advocates on behalf of the rights of women is a "feminist," a generally positive term. By contrast, a person who advocates on behalf of the rights of men has no corresponding one-word description other than "sexist," a very negative term. Or the most compact alternative, "Male chauvinist." Yup, lexical high ground. Bet you guys never realized what hit ya.

In the abortion debate, since women were heavily involved on both sides, no one was able to seize the lexical high ground. It's "Pro-life" (generally a positive term) vs. "Pro-choice" (generally a positive term). You never, ever hear them refer to themselves as "anti-abortionist" or "pro-abortion." Only the other side tries to call them that.

Civil rights was an interesting area. Maybe it was early days for this concept. How did we get from "colored" to "negro" to "black?" Especially when "negro" is merely "black" in Spanish? And we've gone from abandonment of "colored" to adoption of "women of color." Yes, all politically-correct euphemism, but evidence of attempts to gain the lexical high ground.

Anyway, back to the grey power debate. I remember my first bike racing license, issued when I was 21, categorized me as a "Senior." I guess this was because the teenage riders were "Juniors." And the old-timers were "Veterans." So note how "Veteran" somehow became "Master." Strategic attempt to gain the lexical high ground?

In polite societies, where age is venerated, the elderly are referred to as ... Elders.

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Old 06-20-07, 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Yen
Grey-haired kids.

Have any of you seen these new hearing aids? Very cool! I bet this is just the beginning of re-invented "senior" aids for aging baby boomers. http://www.phonak.com/company/mediac...72E43BF68C753D

"…it comes with all the appeal of a must-have accessory…"

I think that just about sums it up (the same can be said about so much of modern life, unfortunately…)



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Old 06-20-07, 04:44 AM
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Why not just call it what it is--a 50+ Activities & Learning Center, or 50+ Multi-Purpose center? This is a 50+ forum, and I'd bet most of us on here don't consider ourselves as "senior" (at 56 I don't), don't consider ourselves "mature"-more like overaged kids! But I would go to a 50+ Activities Center (or Activities and Learning Center, Multi-Purpose Center), and not feel patronized. While you're on word origins, does senior come from Spanish also, as senor (sorry not a Mac, so can't put the swirly thing over the n).
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Old 06-20-07, 05:07 AM
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Vintage Center
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Old 06-20-07, 05:30 AM
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We had this same debate when we named this forum.

50+ is totally descriptive without being perjorative, and is totally accurate (except for a few 50- folks who hang around! ). From the number of participants, it seems to have worked pretty well.

The 50+ Center

The 50+ Challenge Center?


Our church group calls itself the XYZ group. I don't think that one would be a winner in the market, though!

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Old 06-20-07, 05:51 AM
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Old 06-20-07, 05:55 AM
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I've always* liked the word cronies, because in my imagination it comes from the word "chrono", so to me Cronie kind of means "Time Traveler".

If you spelled it Chronie, and you cut me a lot of slack...
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Old 06-20-07, 06:54 AM
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The Early Alzheimers Kids.
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Old 06-20-07, 07:03 AM
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Advanced Age Riding Partners.
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Old 06-20-07, 07:09 AM
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Masters is a decent term, I think. For some reason it reminds me of Jack Nicholas.
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