I went to a brokers’ open house today (open houses for new home listings, just for Realtors). When I signed in and left my business card, I was surprised to see a business card from another agent who had the “SRES” designation after his/her name. The SRES designation (which I have) is only held by about 1.5% of all realtors, and it stands for Seniors Real Estate Specialist. Realtors earn this and other designations by taking courses and passing a comprehensive final exam.
I mentioned to the listing agent that many people don’t like to be called “seniors”, and she replied, “well, what else should we call them?”. That got me to thinking- what do you call people who are over age 55? To me a “senior citizen” conjures up images of a very old, frail person. Yet I realize that there are many people who are still active and young-looking at age 70 or 80 or even 90. It all depends on what they’ve done to keep their bodies and minds healthy as they grew older. So what do we call them? Is 60 really the new 40?
“Over 55” includes many different kinds of people (including me). There aren’t very many members of “the greatest generation” left. They grew up during the difficult years of the Great Depression and World War II, and they represent a fairly small percentage of those over age 55. After them came the so-called “silent generation”, or those who were born between 1925 and the early 1940s. Then we have the “baby boomers”, who were born between 1945 and 1964. Should they all be lumped together as “senior citizens”, or are there better names we could give them? The grey panthers? The golden guys/girls?
Maybe we should have different names for those over age 55 depending on how mentally and physically fit they are. “Older Adults” might be the politically correct term. But how about others: the dyed hair people? the silver streaks? The mature miracles? Help me with this one, guys. If you’re over 55, what do you want to be called and why?
Len Dunikoski, SRES