By Press Room
- Government and society potentially upset 97% of UK pensioners by using terms of reference they dislike
- ‘Elderly’ and ‘old age pensioner’ disliked by vast majority
- ‘Senior citizen’ and ‘retired person’ preferred options
- 100,000 of the over 65s would like to be called Grey Panthers
Government and society are using the wrong terms to address the over 65s, according to research by MGM Advantage, the retirement income specialist. The insight revealed that the term ‘elderly’, which is the name most commonly used by David Cameron, Ed Milliband, and throughout society, is disliked by 97% of the over 65s.
Alongside ‘elderly’, ‘old age pensioner’ was also dismissed by respondents while the most popular term of reference, favoured by two in five (40%) respondents, was ‘senior citizen’ with ‘retired person’ and even ‘silver surfer’ cited as preferred options.
A significant section of over 65s, around 103,000, would choose to be called a ‘grey panther’, although over half of those suggesting ‘grey panther’ were in fact male.
While the preferred term is ‘senior citizen’, politicians should be wary of using the term when visiting the South West and Yorkshire regions, where the preferred reference is ‘a retired person’.
Aston Goodey, Distribution and Marketing Director, MGM Advantage said: “The retired nation constitutes 17% of the UK population – a sizeable and influential demographic. However it is important to remember that older people are not one homogenised group but a diverse demographic that Government, society and industry cannot afford to refer to as one entity.
“While there is no consensus amongst older people as to how they would like to be addressed, they are deeply aware of society’s desire to categorise them. ‘Senior citizen’ may be the most popular term of reference but there were strong showings for ‘senior’, ‘retired person’ and even ‘grey panther’. It’s high time we talked to the older population as individuals, and strive to ensure products and services are tailored to their needs.”
Notes to Editors
- Source: research conducted by Research Plus with between 7th and 17th October 2011 with 2086 UK adults aged 55 and over. The research was commissioned by MGM Advantage.