Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Apologies

Terri Reed here and in a short time my November book Chasing Shadows will hit the shelves. Well, the Harlequin book club members have already recieved their copies and I have recieved my first reader mail on this book with a complaint, albeit the reader was very nice about her objection to my use of the word elderly in relation to a fifty-eight year old woman. I know, I know, my bad. So sorry!
However, I went to dictionary.com to look up the definition of elderly as an adjective:
1.Being past middle age and approaching old age per the American Heritage Dictionary 2. somewhat old; near old age per the Random House Dictionary
Okay, so then I looked up when does middle age begin and end? I couldn't find a definitive timeline. The US Census says 35-55. Some websites say anywhere from 25-75. Whoa! That's a big span. Then I looked up the old-age and according to the Random House Dictionary old-age is considered the last period of human life, now often considered to be the years after 65 or the age of retirement which currently is 66. So after looking at all of this I have come to the realization that in our American society we associate the word elderly to persons beyond old-age when in fact it doesn't have to mean that at all. I think our culture has an interesting habit of using words to label things that aren't necessarily correct.

Also, today chapter six of Yuletide Peril posts. Stop on by to see how the story is progressing. http://www.eharlequin.com/article.html?articleId=1437


Edna said...

Some people just want to find something to complain about, you are getting to be elderly in your 50s I am 66 and since I have been getting senior discounts since I was 50 then I sure don't complain, I like my life at this age,

May God bless everyone


Carmen7351 said...

I guess I would have just laughed at being called elderly at 58. What a hoot!

Lee Smith said...

I think it depends on the person. Who is it? Demi Moore is 47 or 48 and she is nowhere near what I would call elderly. She probably won't look elderly in another 5 or 10 years either. Mark Martin - a Nascar driver, is almost the same age - and looks more like 20 or more years older than her... I might think of him more as elderly - until you see him drive or hear about his fitness regime. I can't think of a good example off hand - but I know of people who are even younger than her that are more frail and older looking. So I believe it may have more to do with how someone looks and how healthy they are. It is more a descriptive word to help you imagine the person than a technical description of age.

I don't think you can avoid offending everyone, but I am sorry someone took offense at this.

PamelaTracy said...

The older I get, the more elderly changes its age. When I was 17, twenty-five was elderly. When I was twenty-five, fourty-five was elderly. Ahem, let's just say, right now I think 75 is elderly. When I'm 75, I will change that number.

Terri Reed said...

Thank you dear ladies for your encouraging words.
Edna, bless your positive attitude.
Carmen, I think I would laugh too. I laugh thinking I'm middle aged.
Lee, I think your right, the word is to help create a picture.
Pam,I'm with you. When I was twenty I thought forty-five ancient. I will turn forty-six in June. LOL

Lisa Mondello said...

First of all, Terri, I would have NEVER thought you were my age. I thought you were a good ten years younger. I'll stand by the idea that elderly is 20 years off from whatever age I currently am. That puts elderly at 66!

Debby Giusti said...

Goes to show how everything is relative. I ditto what Pam said. Elderly? Anyone above 80! :)

Terri Reed said...

Lisa, I thought you were younger than me! LOL
Debby, you're right its all relative. I like what Lee said about the word describing a person's physcial looks and health.
I just met a woman tonight who was probably in her eighties, has alzheimers but she was so spunky and was trekking through the mall with no trouble at all.

PamelaTracy said...

I think Lisa hit on the perfect guideline: Elderly is twenty years older than me. BTW, I'm not playing the age game. I hope you all think I'm incredibly younger than I look.

Anonymous said...

Great post.I am just glad to have gotten to be considered elderly at 55. I worked in the healthcare industry for 20 years & have gotten to meet really elderly people @ 105, they where so cool, esp when you see the world through their eyes.

Lisa Mondello said...

That is so cool, April!