There are a lot of tired cliches that seem welded to our 65 plus population. You've probably heard most of them---that "seniors" aren't interested in learning new stuff, especially technology, or "seniors" are resistant to change; or "seniors" are slow, forgetful, busybodyish, disagreeable, negative-thinking; the list goes on ad nauseum. Some of these stereotypes (like many stereotypes) are actually true; but the people who make them true probably had these qualities when they were younger--perhaps even by the age of 5.
The most infamous of senior stereotypes, and the one I find personally most offensive, however, is the one inspired by the phrase "senior moment". When I hear 30-something people talk about their parents having a "senior moment", or worse, baby boomers describing a senior moment of their own, I have to cringe. Who coined this ridiculous phrase and why has it become such a ubiquitous part of our language and culture?
Urban dictionary tells us a senior moment is "Suddenly forgetting something you've....oh what's the word..known every other time, except for the moment someone's asking you. It happens to people 55 and older. Really? 55 is the beginning of our journey toward mental atrophy? It seems the state of being senior keeps getting younger and younger. Pretty soon, the only people who won't be seniors will be those eligible to play professional football. The irony is that "Senior moments" can happen to any of us at any age. And for some, it can last a lot longer than the train of thought you suddenly lose in mid sentence. When that happens, it becomes much more than an annoying cliche.
Of course, the word "senior" isn't inherently bad. What is bad is how society has turned it into something we never want to become! I see and hear every day how society dismisses, ridicules or just ignores people of that uncertain age. And if not taking our minds seriously isn't insult enough, when we become seniors, we also have to worry about "looking our age". Those who cannot afford or simply refuse to spend food and rent money on age defying remedies will likely come face to face with the ageist mirror in our workplace, in our communities, even in our own families.
We baby boomers--the new seniors--will also soon have to circumvent senior moments others have scheduled for us. Hopefully, we will all succeed in changing that schedule, and when someone talks about the future---5, 10, even 50 years from now, we will refrain from saying something like, "Oh, I might be dead by then."