What’s in a phrase -aging parents

I'm continuing to receive google alerts for news items dealing with aging parents.  As I looked through all the articles and blogs, it occured to me that the phrase -aging parents- could have the same problem as a phrase I REALLY dislike - the elderly.   "The elderly" bothers me because elderly is not a noun it is a descriptive term.  When used as a noun it immediatly lumps individuals into a catagory based solely on age, and implies that frailty and other problems are the result of aging. I wince when I read that "the elderly need this","the elderly think that", or "this is good for the elderly".  Considering the vast individual differences in people of any age group (imagine lumping the middle-aged into a single catagory), it makes no sense to assume the majority of people over a certain age are suddenly more the same than different. So I have to ask myself if the same holds true for the phrase aging parents. 

When I post a blog it asks me to identify a catagory.  Clearly there has to be some method for interested parties to find information on their topic of choice.  However, I want to make something really clear.  In my opinion age really is just a number that has less to do with who a person is, and what they are capable of, than almost any other factor you could name.  As I provide practical strategies to help parents and adult children create a culture and partnership of well-being I will continually ask you to take age out of the equation.  Therefore, I will give more thought to every descriptive phrase I use to make sure my message is consistent. 

Now I'm curious.  What does the phrase aging parents imply to you?  

5 responses to “What’s in a phrase -aging parents”

  1. I have a friend from Asia, her father is 85 years old. But still straight back, strong grip and vibrantly healthy. It is in their culture that the children takes care of their parents when they grow old. The siblings will take turn in adopting their old parents inside their homes, together with their own families. This way, no aging parents grow old alone. I think this is one good tradition.

  2. “Aging parent” means the person has raised his or her children and is full of wisdom that can be shared if we will only take the time to learn it.

  3. Montanakay says:

    Hi Susan! I like that observation. It really is all about perspective. When a person uses the phrase aging parents with the mindset that they are an asset with wisdom and experience it is uplifting, if they use it with the mindset that aging parents pose a set of challenges then itbecomes adismissive. Thanks for your thoughts. Kay

  4. Mujer says:

    I found very interesting all what you have put here, both in text and in the comments, since you have helped me learn things I did not know.

  5. Thanks for sharing such a useful stuff!

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