Since When did the Word “Senior” Become a Dirty Word?

Since When did the Word “Senior” Become a Dirty Word?


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My name is Linda Knight Seccaspina and I am a senior citizen. I am not a perennial, nor a golden ager, and I refuse to “age gracefully”. I dislike all the fancy new words they use to describe what my Grandmother Mary Deller Knight used to call a “pensioner”. Each time I see a new description of a senior I shake my head and wonder who got offended this week that they saw the need for a name change.

None of us seniors describe ourselves as old, even though it is staring us in the face, but these youngsters keep searching for a word that won’t offend old people.There is a 3 decade difference between 60 and 90– I know that for a fact even though I failed math. But alas, last time I asked for help at a grocery store, help was directed over to the ‘old gal over there’. Looks like I am not fooling anyone with the hats and the youthful attire– only myself.  But the fact is we are too sensitive these days and everything seems too politically correct.

So where did this new identifying of seniors come from?  Well, rumour says it stems from the 50 year-olds who do not want to be known as senior citizens. Really? Yup, they kicked the name ‘senior” to the curb and people listened. They did not want to be identified with the images of nursing homes, dentures and The Golden Girls. Speaking of the Golden Girls every week I go visit my mother in law in her senior residence they are constantly playing reruns of that hit TV show. Honestly, does changing the name from seniors to something else stop us from being on a loop of Estelle Getty reruns?

Some of the ladies were trying to bolt on Tuesday (one might think from those reruns) and the emergency door of course would not open. My mother in law pointed a finger at me and told them: 

“She’s young, she thinks she knows everything, she probably has the key!”

With that I was faced with a circle of angry faces of people actually older than I am. I don’t know everything, and certainly don’t have a key, but I also don’t have an answer to what is going on right now. Is it up to us latter 60 year-olds to begin a revolution against all these fancy names that mean nothing to us?  

I worked hard to get to this age and mentally feel young. Aging happens to everyone. The problem about changing the name from Senior Citizens to anything else is just another way to confuse us, and euphemisms will not slow the march of time.

I can’t remember giving anyone permission to speak for me, and as long as I get my senior discounts I’m happy. I have a lot of vibrancy and being called a senior citizen does not make me feel old. We are all individuals no matter what age we are. How about the younger folks adjust their mind to think about “senior citizens” and becoming one in a positive frame of mind. I don’t need to be referred to in another way so I can remain in a safe zone– it seems all too PC to me.

Thank you!



I do believe there was an almost senior citizen performing here LOLOL — Thanks Terry Poulos:)

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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