Congratulations to the winner, SENIOR
York County Community Foundation's Embracing Aging initiative took a spin on this year's election to question stereotypes associated with an aging adult and to create a conversation about what name York Countians prefer and why.
A Name for the Ages campaign launched on Oct. 3 and ended at midnight November 8, 2016.
Almost 650 people voted. Older Adult quickly took an early lead and remained the top choice through the first half of the campaign. However, as more votes were cast, Senior jumped ahead and remained the preferred choice.
What about the Other category? Seasoned Adult, Mature Adult, and simply Adult were the most frequently mentioned.
Attitudes towards aging affect every aspect of a community, from relationships in the workplace to long-range planning for housing and transportation. Yet, individuals aren't aware of how an attitude really permeates their everyday life. This campaign gets people thinking about the stereotypes associated with certain terms. By questioning these stereotypes, we can discover together what it means to create an age-inclusive community. Because we're all aging, individuals of all ages contribute to and benefit from open and honest discussions of attitudes toward aging.
The campaign got people talking about stereotypes in aging. Here are the top 3 reasons people voted for their preferred candidate.
Did the age of the voter matter?
If voters chose, they could provide their age. We asked this because we wanted to see if any trends by term emerged.
Median Age - All Voters - 56
Median Age - Senior - 60
Median Age - Older Adult - 55
Median Age - Elder - 54
A few people pushed-back, they didn't feel the need for defining a term at all, and simply said "call me my name."
The results will be used by Embracing Aging in its work to improve attitudes around aging, especially as part of its Embracing Aging: Changing the Perceptions of Aging training. The goal of the training is to dispel aging misperceptions and increase understanding of older adults in people from across different generations.
"I voted for old geezer because it's honest and doesn't tiptoe around the fact that we are old."
"Elder sounds like someone using a cane, walker or worse!"
"I don't like Senior, it implies rank, and old age doesn't outrank youth."
"Older adult doesn't make sense. To a teenager, a 40-year-old is an older adult, and being 40 is far from rocking chairs and hearing aids."
"I voted for old fart. We are old in years, still have lots of gas in the tank, and like to sound off a lot (and that's something to toot about)."
"Elder is a historical and respected term that everyone should know, understand, and appreciate."
"Older makes a person feel aged and elder is a word from the past."
"Just call me adult. I don't need another term to define myself as I age."
"I vote for honored adult. These folks deserve a place of honor in our society."
"Elders do everything more fully - teach, learn, and enjoy life - because of, not despite, their experiences."
"Senior needs further clarification; I don't want to be confused with a senior in high school or college."
"Older adult sounds more dignified and less daunting to an individual when compared to a term like elderly."
"I feel both elder and senior have implications of agedness, infirmity, and a less-than-vital personage."
"Elder doesn't make sense; an elder in a church can be 30 years old."
"I prefer Boomer because it fits with the revolution our generation accomplished."
"I voted for Other - Friend. If we all befriend an aging adult, there will be no need for a separate title."
"I like Elder because it is a sign of respect for those who have paved the way for us."
"Elder raises the status of old people. Elderhood can be its own time of life - not just an extension of adulthood."
"I like Older Adult because it sounds mature and less stigmatizing."
To learn more about York County Community Foundation and its Embracing Aging initiative, visit www.yccf.org or contact Cathy Bollinger, managing director of Embracing Aging at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-848-3733.
Follow us on Twitter @YCCFYork or on Facebook @YorkCountyCommunityFoundation.
Join in on the conversation at #YCCFAging.