Okay, now think about it. What is the one word that could strike paralyzing fear in the heart of our generation? A word that is to boomers what garlic is to vampires. A word so terrifying that organizations everywhere are rushing to drop the word from their titles faster than Sandra Bullock drops cheatin’ husbands.
The word is (insert drum roll here)….SENIOR!
As in Senior Services, Senior Center, Senior Discount.
Apparently, you just can’t market anything to boomers if it has the dreaded word “senior” on it…in it…or anywhere near it. Just ask Peter Rittenhouse of the center formerly known as the Joslyn Senior Center in Palm Desert, CA:
People who are now 55 to 75 will never call themselves senior.
In a recent news report in The Desert Sun, Rittenhouse says they did surveys and focus groups and found that as boomers age, they continue to set new and often unexpected lifestyle priorities. Well now, the bohemian boomer could have told him that, and saved him $$$ on survey printing and focus group refreshments! Rittenhouse adds they are adding more boomer-friendly activities, such as yoga.
The report goes on to quote another center dropping “senior” from its name, The Golden Rainbow Center catering to gays and lesbians in Palm Springs. The executive director there, Harvey Stern, says they also concluded there are just too many negative connotations with the dreaded word:
Gay men are much more concerned about aging. There are a lot of reasons. Number one is the stereotype of what the word ‘senior’ conveys – people in walkers with oxygen tanks.
Speaking of stereotypes, don’t you think Mr. Stern just reinforced the one about gay men being narcissistic? Sorry, I don’t think my gay friends are any more or any less worried about aging than my other bohemian boomer pals. Let’s face it, we’re all firm believers in the saying, “The idea is to die young as late as possible.” If we don’t want to associate ourselves with anything named “senior,” is that vanity or merely that we’re charting a new path and refuse to accept labels forced upon us just because we’ve passed a chronological milestone?
Maybe it’s vanity. After all, I refused to join a local mountain bike club just because it was called the “Fat Tire Society.”