7 reasons why doctors should scrap the word 'elderly'
The word 'elderly' should not be used in medicine, argues Professor Javad Hekmat-panah, a neurologist and neurosurgeon based at the University of Chicago in the US.
Writing a blog for the BMJ, he gives seven reasons why the word should be thrown out.
- It’s vague. Does it mean people over 65, over 70, retired people or some other group?
- It conjures up bias in the mind of the listener, which can do harm.
- It’s out-of-date and rude. "I’d argue that the word ‘elderly’ is like ‘imbecile’ or ‘idiot’, which have become anachronistic and offensive.”
- It confounds being older with being ill, which is not necessarily the case.
- It lumps together people with ages spanning several decades — something we would not do for other parts of the life-span.
- It can lead to people not getting access to treatment, or even healthcare rationing, which is against human