Changing the Vocabulary of Aging

applesYou know that feeling when you happen upon a news item and find yourself thinking: “Did I just read that correctly?” So it was when I read a story recently about a major British insurance company that was dropping the words “energetic” and “innovative” from their job adverts in order to woo older workers. Apparently, the company feared that people like me—aka over 50—would be put off by words like “enthusiastic” because it might suggest that the firm was looking for someone younger.

The change in wording was undertaken in order to foster more inclusivity in hiring practices at this company. According to a 2021 report from the Centre for Ageing Better, using words like “innovative” and “adaptable” in a job listing impinges negatively on older candidates’ perception of their prospects for a given job.

I welcome the company’s intention. In an era where businesses are scrambling to prioritise diversity and inclusion, it’s great to see age diversity included in that mix. But as someone who, at the ripe old age of 56, routinely finds herself to be *the* most energetic person in any room she enters (real or virtual), I was saddened and outraged by the job ad story.

Read the rest of this blog over on This Age Thing

Image: Photo by Corina Rainer on Unsplash


  • Reply Howard Baldwin

    February 24, 2022, 5:13 pm

    I don’t know whether it’s an increased emphasis on fitness, or better food and nutrition, or what. But if you look at a picture of me at 66 and a picture of Spencer Tracy about the same time (just before he died, in fact), I don’t look my age and he’s a craggy old man. (Of course, he was a drinker too.) But “old” fifty years ago and “old” today are just markedly different.

    • Reply delialloyd

      April 21, 2022, 7:47 am

      @howard So sorry I missed this comment! Which really made me smile. Yes! You are completely right-I suspect that drinking *does* have something to do with it but being “old” is totally different now, which is why I often refer to it as “the new old age.” Thanks for reading!

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