Communicating Age Stereotyping through Elderspeak

  What is Elderspeak? Elderspeak is a form of ageism or stereotyping based on age. It is a particular way some younger adults speak to older adults. For example, someone using elderspeak might use a ‘singsong’ tone, or speak louder and talk more slowly when interacting with an older adult. Or, they might use simple vocabulary as though talking with a young child and combine it with patronizing terms like “dearie” or “sweetie” or using “we” rather than “you” when asking a question. I live in a rural community were terms of endearment such as “honey” or “sweetie” are frequently…

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Forever Young is Not So Far-fetched

 My husband woke me up at 4:00 a.m. this morning; I suspect he was a bit anxious about his eye surgery this morning. Right now, it is 6:35 a.m. I’m in the waiting room as Claude gets prepped to have a cataract removed and have a Lifestyle lens implanted.I’m a bit cranky because I got up about three hours earlier than normal. After the receptionist checked my husband in for his surgery, she turned to me and asked, “What is your name honey?” After I gave her my name, she continued to call me “honey” a couple more times. I…

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Petspeak or Elderspeak: Is There a Difference?

Is there a difference between petspeak and elderspeak? That's what I was thinking about this week. I had just parked my car in a parking lot at Washington Square Shopping Mall near Portland, Oregon. I happened to be with a friend at the time. As my friend and I got out of the car, we noticed a grey-haired woman gently lifting a little poodle from the back of her mini-van. The woman cooed at her dog and used ‘petspeak’ saying something like, “There you go my sweet little precious.” My friend and I looked at each other while trying to…

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