The NY Times has a fascinating story about Elderspeak and how it can jeopardize your health. Read more, including what it means for those with atrial fibrillation, at
Speak Up to Get the Atrial Fibrillation Treatment You Deserve
Then please come back over here to the blog and post your comments below. I am confident that there will be lots of opinions on this one.
The “Sweetie” and “Dear” reference is right on the money. My 100-year-old mother constantly fretted about being patronized by such terms, and now that I am 79 I share her disgust. The next time a health care professional calls me “honey” I shall answer by calling him or her “kiddo”.
The article about older women and men being addressed as sweetie and dear hit home. I’ve never had it happen to me yet because I don’t look my age but I know it’s coming. At that time I’ll tell them MY NAME IS DIANNE! Hope all of you speak up also.
Dorothy and Dianne,
Good for you. We have to help people know how to treat us; perhaps they just don’t realize how it comes across.
On a visit to a doctor’s office recently a nurse asked me who drove me to the clinic. That is another bit of elderspeak, assuming I’m to old to drive a car. I’m 68. Very annoying. I have been patronized by doctors too, assuming I’m going to believe anything they tell me in a condescending tone.
Yes, it is frustrating when they think that because we’ve reached a certain age, we’re starting to lose our capacity to do normal things.
And why do they feel the need to talk down to us? Perhaps they just don’t realize that they are.
Started having terrifying bouts of afibs in 1955, continuing until 1975, when I stopped drinking. No physician would tell me what it was (I assume because they couldn’t cure it). No problem from ’75 to ’88, when fibs returned rather frequently. Beta blockers were useless. About 1990 amiodarone kept me free of fibs until 2001, when drug caused significant damage, Have had chronic afibs (24/7) since then (I’m 83 this year). Wish I had gone to Cleveland Clinic 20 years ago, as local Mom& Pop doctors simply couldn’t handle it properly.