For example, the other day a commenter on this blog wrote that what I had written reminded her of the the story about the "elderly" lady that lived on a cruise ship. I was okay with the cruise ship story but the word "elderly" shocked me.
See, believe it or not, I had forgotten there was such a thing as being elderly. In fact, I am not even quite sure what that is. Is that the Miss Marple character of Agatha Christie fame. Remember her? She was the seemingly old doddering lady that carries a purse, wore sensible shoes and knitted constantly but could still out reason any young person around.
Or is an elderly person one that has passed a certain age no matter how they act or what they can do.
Perhaps an elderly person is someone that needs help crossing streets and opening door. She is the person younger people see in their mind when they catch a glimpse of me.
I just returned from the car wash where I ordered a complete cleaning of the outside and inside...no wax...I can do that myself. The young man that handed me my bill walked me to the door and opened it for me. I received the same treatment when I picked my car up. All that was wonderful and yet it was a little shocking.
See, I walked 18 holes of golf yesterday playing with three men. Not your typical "elderly" activity.
See what I mean.
Barbara, I am 62 and stopped dyeing my hair about three years ago. I've found some interesting behavior towards me since then. People giving me a seat on the bus is nice, because I suffer from a bad back and occasional sciatica. But these people are doing it because of my wrinkles and grey hair. I've also experienced a number of cashiers at the local Aldi store, where you are supposed to bag your own groceries, bagging mine. It's nice but also makes me a bit....I can't quite put my finger on it. Oh yes. Uncomfortable?ReplyDelete
And I feel guilty for taking help I don't need...surely someone needs help more than I do.Delete
It is good to think about these things now and again, such as what does elderly mean and who is elderly. I told some gal friends I can no longer call myself middle aged; if you are 50 and plan to reach 100 you could, but once you get a bit older than that, you aren't in the middle anymore, IMHO.ReplyDelete
Well, I belong to Women of Midlife even though those ladies are young enough to be my daughter in many cases. It is simple a matter of finding people you like no matter your age. As for labels...I can't even figure that one out!Delete
True about finding people you like no matter your age; my sweet friends range from 36 to 93 and each of them is dear to me. My youngest friend could definitely be my daughter, age wise.Delete
To me it just sounds like people showing respect for those older than them and that is not a bad thing. Maybe hard for some of us to accept that we are at that stage in our lives but...ReplyDelete
You are so right RJ. It is respect and it takes a person that sees their self worth to acknowledge and value that notion.Delete
I would be shocked also if someone thought I was elderly. I just turned 71. I am retired and on Medicare, but I am not elderly. My mother will be 100 in just a few short months. Honestly, I cannot bring myself to call her old. She doesn't act like an "old lady." I guess you could call her elderly if you consider how slow she moves, but in my mind, she is ageless. She remains the same as she has always been on the inside. I think that is the secret. Keep on keeping on. That is other secret to not becoming that "e" word.ReplyDelete
It is hard to even imagine having a mother alive at my age. I am 74...not so much older that you. The connotation for elderly is not what I see in myself and I am sure you don't either.Delete
My mother (85) and I (58) kid a great deal about the difference between being "older" and being "elderly". Mom is clearly older. She has the age and memories to prove it. Occasionally a resident in her independent living place becomes "elderly". That person has clearly rounded the bend. Negative about living longer, lets everything go and simply shuffles because it is easier. That person will, in our estimation, only be around for a short period of time on the earth. They are elderly and act that way.ReplyDelete
The woman on the cruise ship? Older, not elderly.
"Negative about living longer, lets everything go and simply shuffles because it is easier. " says it all. In the end, being positive, continuing to learn and solve problems and, above all, acting as though age has no meaning is the key.Delete
Thank you for your comment.
To me, elderly and older mean the same. And when a person hits age 60, they are older and they are elderly. And so what? It happens. If you are lucky. You can't claim any senior discounts on one hand, and then claim that you aren't a senior, older and elderly on the other. I have no problem aging. I'm enjoying it. I consider myself to be an elder and I'm proud of it. To me it has nothing to do with physical ability either. I'm 63 and walk 5 miles each morning on the treadmill at the Y and take 3 aerobic classes weekly and expect to start jogging on the treadmill in the next couple of weeks. Anyway, to be elderly begins at age 60, and I encourage everyone to embrace it. Many people don't get the privilege.ReplyDelete
There you go...a clear and perfect line in the sand. Thank you.Delete
Women of a certain age become invisible. I really don't mind it, since I no longer bother with makeup or such things, but the labels we give people can be very hurtful. I also wonder who is "elderly" when I hike with the Senior Trailblazers and we cover 12 miles with lots of elevation gain and loss. :-)ReplyDelete
You are the perfect example of what we can do if we simply get up and move. As for me, it is very difficult to see me as invisible. In fact, I am sure they can hear me coming and run and hide! :)Delete
It's all relative, isn't it? I was cleaning the cemetery under the supervision of my dad. This was ~15 yrs ago. Dad was looking at his father's headstone, shaking his head. He said that when his dad died, he thought he was an old man. Still shaking his head, he commented that his dad was "you kids' age" referring to my sisters and I, who were mid-40ish. And I'm reminded of the local Native Americans who referred to the sage amongst them as Elders, a very respected title.ReplyDelete
Mona..OH MY GOSH! I had forgotten about the elders being the holder of all wisdom. Now I remember. Thank you so very much! Perfect!Delete
Doncha know the definition of "elderly"? It's someone ten years older than you are!ReplyDelete
Oh my goodness...who knew?Delete
I see this all differently. I have always had men open doors for me, rise from the table when I enter a room, hold chairs for me, yada, yada, yada, from the time I was 17. It is still done for me today and it has nothing to do with my age, then or now. To me, it is just common courtesy. Isn't that the way it is supposed to be? I thought it was because I'm a good looking gal and for some reason command respect. Men lit my cigarettes, waited till I ordered first, came around and opened up the car door for me (going in and going out), walked ahead of me to hold the door open for me, carried my books, packages, groceries, got things for me off the top shelf....geeze, I can go on forever.ReplyDelete
I never think about my age but I do think about my looks. And I make sure I always look good. Think Sofia Loren, Rachael Welch, Jane Fonda (have you seen this woman lately? OMG!) Christie Brinkley. Think men hold the doors open for them because they're old or elderly? Didn't think so.
If you have become invisible, chances are you were always invisible.
I have no patience for thinking such as this.
You are now what you always have been.
The other day, I was at a dinner/dance and the song New York New York came on. I got up and started to try to do a dance line with our dance instructor. She absolutely refused to change her pre-learned dance steps and improvise with me. Till I just pushed her away and I started doing the kick line all by myself! The audience went wild. I couldn't believe how high I could kick. But I was dancing just like I had in my 20's. Just like that! I got a standing ovation from the crowd.
I will never forget that social dance teacher! She was as old as me (60ish) but absolutely refused to push the envelope and do something extraordinary. How pitiful for her. How wonderful for me. And trust me, after this night, lots of people were holding doors open for me! One guy even bent over and kissed my toes while I sat on a lounge chair by the pool.
Get out there and live!
Oh how I love this. I was raised in that era too but somehow all the chivalry was lost in the shuffle. Now I want it back. We will see.Delete
Very great reading. Your words are very inspiring. I think the elderly person's are those who have lost their mentality strength to do something, Whatever the age is.ReplyDelete
The definition of "feeble" is lacking physical strength, as a result of age or illness. The definition of elder is someone who is older. I'm an elder. I'm no longer a teen-ager and no longer middle-aged, unless at 63 I expected to live to be 126, which I do not. However, I want to be as vibrant as an 80 yr. women I know who teaches aerobic classes and weight strengthening classes, and is in amazing health, who recently said she wants to live to be 97 and then die with a bullet shot between her eyes from somebody's wife!Delete