Offended by term ‘elderly’ in news coverage
June 13, 2014
Please review the use of the term” elderly” to describe senior citizens in the articles in your newspaper.
As an example, the victim of a vicious attack by individuals whom he attempted to assist during a snow storm was described in The Union’s multiple articles as the “elderly victim.” He may be in his early 70s, but if you worked out next to him at the gym multiple times each week, as I did, you would hardly describe him as “elderly.” A kindly gentleman/citizen trying to help some misguided local youths in need, “yes,” an elderly person, ”no.”
You may be trying to create sympathy for the victim, in this case, but you offend him and the rest of us who still think of ourselves as fit and full of life.
Today, I read how two elderly gentlemen, ages 66 and 65, were pistol whipped by a felon armed with a pistol. These two men were out riding their ATVs near the town of Washington when they were attacked for “trespassing.” Those were heavy ATVs that they were operating, not wheel chairs or electric scooters.
Mr. Hamilton, look at the demographics of the community that your newspaper serves. We are one of the “grayest” counties in the state, but most of us past 55 or 60 years of age do not consider ourselves elderly. Maybe we have lost a step, but we work at being fit and enjoying life to its fullest.
I understand that your reporters may be in their mid-20s or early 30s, and the people they write about may be the same age of their grandparents, but, please, reconsider the use of the term “elderly” to describe those of us who are older than you are. The term “elderly” is offensive to those of us who still think that we are in our 30s, even though our bodies tell us differently every day.