Letters: Talking about the elderly — er, senior citizens — um, make that ‘perennials’


Mere words are no match for the course nature takes

Re “In a new age, nobody’s getting old” by Robert Weisman (Page A1, March 8): Words like “elderly” and “senior” have acquired negative connotations among aging baby boomers, some of whom prefer to be described as “perennials” — plants that are reborn annually. The irony here is that a natural phenomenon such as aging does not simply disappear merely by renaming it; instead, attempting to sweep aside words that historically have denoted wisdom and acquired experience (as well as physical decline), we deplete elders and seniors of their generative power to give wisdom and acquired experience to the next generation.

Maria G. Mackavey


Sure beats the alternative

We boomers need to get over ourselves. Of course we are getting old, and that is far better than the alternative.

A number of years back, a friend said, “Well, 60 is the new 50,” to which my husband replied, “Really, then why are you bald?”

Embrace each age with graciousness.

Christine Beagan


Be careful what you wish for

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To all my fellow senior citizens who don’t want to be called “seniors”: Be careful what you ask for. Once they get rid of the “senior” moniker, then they will get rid of the senior discount.

Joanne Fisher


What you call her is not foremost

As a 71-year-old, I don’t care what you call me, as long as you don’t expect me to play second fiddle to younger people if I ever need an organ transplant.

Felicia Nimue Ackerman


The writer is a professor of philosophy at Brown University.

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