A "Senior" or Not? Women Over 50 Weigh in on This Word Choice

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • Recently, I read a publication that was targeted to people, age 50 and over. And consistently, that publication described their readers as "seniors". Somehow the use that word seemed out of place to me for people who were in the prime of their lives. So I asked a few  female friends who have reached this age what they thought about that term.


    Kelly, who just turned 50, seemed to echo my sentiments. “I'm 50 and loving it. It seems ‘seniors’ should be the old gray headed ladies who can't carry their own groceries, have their hair done every week, use the handicap parking and drive slower than in a school zone,” she explained. “I'm not even close to any of those things. We still blow and go, ready to explore and go out on adventures. I'm not ready for the rocking chair just yet. Nope, I'm in total denial if I'm considered a senior...except for those certain moments.”

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    Some of my friends thought about earlier generations of women when considering the question. “I just have to compare my mother at 50 with my way of life to know that "senior" doesn't describe my life,” Jeanell, age 50, said. “I don't know if being divorced and single has anything to do with it - my life really ‘amp-ed up’ when I divorced at 45 and I go and do more than ever. At 50, I am not in menopause yet, so I am interested to see what the future holds! So far, the wrinkles and thinning hair haven't dampened my spirit, but I can see where it can go either way.”


    Major life changes also cause some women to refocus on a brand new adventure in their lives, instead of seeing themselves as a senior. “I think 'senior' has always meant 20 years older than I am right now,” Theresa said. “Honestly, I've never felt better, or been in better shape in my life, so NO! I don't feel like a 'senior.' But I suppose if I can join AARP, I am, right? I'm soon to be divorced, and am on my own for the first time in 30 years. It's a whole new world for me, and I'm loving it.”


    Brenda has focused on self-care in order to maintain a young attitude. “I am 53 years old, fit and fabulous,” she exclaimed. “I am at the prime of my life, mentally, physically, and spiritually I am truly blessed and highly favored. I considered myself well seasoned. It's a blessing to grow older, and when you do it with grace, you can never tell the difference.”


    Other friends have other thoughts about being described as a “senior”, which I’ll share next week. And by then, I’ll have given it more thought about why I have a problem with the word “senior” and share my own take. Oh, and just for the record, I’ve turned 50 as well. I hope you’ll contribute your feedback on what you think about the word “senior.” Do you embrace the idea or run from it?

Published On: September 23, 2010