PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- You may want to take a second before you use the 's' word: senior, or senior citizen when referring to someone over 50.

There is a push to get rid of this term, because some argue it's dehumanizing.

Deb is a 60-something-year-old with 42 years in a career in sales. Call her professional, boss, the life of the party but you better not call her a senior citizen.

[READ MORE: CBS 5 This Morning stories]

"For ages, we had a stigma. In reality, aging gives us experience. At AARP, we don't think we should be defined by age," says Alex Juarez with AARP. "For a couple of years we have been using the term 50 plus. That's important because we don't want people to be identified as seniors."

Some say it creates barriers, especially in the workplace with many people not even realizing they're doing it.

"The way that the brain works is interesting. Human beings get so much sensory input that we try to label things to make it easier for us. When you have a term like senior citizen, what people are doing is trying to make a short cut to understand that person by putting them in a category," says Jennifer Ward, president of the Arizona Employers Council. "There is no way for us to turn that off, it's going to exist because that is the way our brains work."

"We are in a period of transition, many people are changing jobs, finding new ways to live and today we are living longer," says Juarez.

The Journal of the American Geriatrics looked at the way people talk about seniors, encouraging authors submitting research to change their style and words when referring to people over 50.

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(18) comments


How about we quit trying to tell people how they should talk???


Get a grip people!!! This is ridiculous. The "s" word???!!! Oh Come on. We are what we are, if we are mature, elderly or the older of the crowd we are the "seniors". Plain and simple. This is absolutely the dumbest direction I have heard so far...but hey...I'm sure the insecure, unsure and deniable ones will come up with something else. Give them time. Personally, I have lived 63 years and earned my senior status and fully intend on waving it where I need to. So there! All seniors...stand up (if you can) and tell the (so called) politically correct (which doesn't make any sense either) that you earned the term earned your white hair, wrinkles and arthritis.....and God gave us that right and no one on earth has the right to deny us that.


Personally, I like old folks


PC is NOW attacking the over 60 crowd. Us OLD Geezers Don't cotton to Political Correctness, let alone being corrected, period!!!


I'm 72 and at this point in my life I consider myself above any labels. Call me want you want . . . it's irrelevant.


Call me whatever, but if you intend it in a derogatory way, this 63 year grandpa can and will kick your gluteus maximus. Then you can spend the rest of your life explaining how :Papaw" put you in a wheelchair.


senior citizen always has been (and probably will be) someone 65+. Nothing wrong with it.


[crElder is the word I don't like about a 60?ying][crying]


What stupidity. Let's think of all the demeaning uses of the word senior:
Senior law partner
High school senior
College senior
Senior statesperson
Senior official

The list goes on. Whoever gets their feathers ruffled for being called a "senior citizen" is just looking to be offended. And yes, I'm 71 and a senior citizen. Although that "Over 50" is pretty snappy....NOT!


AARP is missing the point if it thinks changing a label to another label accomplishes anything worthwhile. Grouping people by seemingly obvious characteristics then giving that group a label is a natural human tendency with good, bad and neutral implications. The intent of the user of a label is usually the controller of the implications, and most of the time, the intent benign rather than malicious. If I sense that someone is applying any label to me in a derogatory manner, I'll speak up, otherwise I have better things to do with my time than police other people's speech. I'll turn 70 in December and can't find "pursue rebranding of my age group" on my bucket list...and "50-plusser" is a really awkward mouthful.

Richard H

Just another reason I don’t belong to that left-wing organization


Oh brother how inane. I dropped my AARP membership when they turned so liberal a few years ago and supported socialist attitudes. My money is not going to help Pelosi destroy this country.


Senior citizen and proud of it!


I'm going with the term geriatric, or gerries for short. Better yet, won't stop using senior because it's an accurate term in regards to age. Plus I'm lazy and saying "50+" is more work than needed

JF Conlon

I'm satisfied with GEEZER.

Bob Regan

How about "Chronologically Challenged?"


AARP is the one who calls people in their 50's seniors. They are just another bunch of liberals joining the ranks of the perpetually offended. Call me anything you want. Just don't call me late for lunch. [beam]



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