The way we talk about diverse groups of people is changing more and more each day, including how we write, speak, and think about the older adult population. Unfortunately, in the United States, ageism is rampant in the media and many commercials, TV shows, magazines, and movies often portray stereotypes of older adults as forgetful and without any capacity to make their own decisions and choices.
When these ideas about aging and older people are accepted and normalized on our screens, it becomes harder to identify the harmful ways that aging is discussed, even within the home care industry. As a home care marketing agency, it’s important to commit to improving how we write about and portray older adults to ensure that representation is respectful and fair. Here are some ideas to try when writing or speaking about older adults and aging:
Help Older Adults Retain Their Ability to Make Choices
While family members such as adult children or grandchildren may provide assistance in making decisions for an older adult, it’s important that marketers avoid removing aging adults from the conversation about how, when, and why they receive care. This type of language often shows up when marketing to adult children who are helping aging parents make decisions.
Rather than focusing the conversation solely on the adult children, consider ways to keep aging parents a part of the conversation by directly addressing those in need of care services and by avoiding possessive language that suggests aging parents belong to their children, such as “your aging loved ones.”
Avoiding Language that Marginalizes Older Adults
When writing about topics related to aging, marketers should avoid marginalizing or infantilizing older adults, or treating them as if they are on the same level as children. Older adults possess years of experience working, learning, teaching and caring for family, and it’s imperative to recognize the knowledge and wisdom they carry.
Instead of assuming that a senior may have no prior knowledge about a topic, begin by acknowledging that older adults may have awareness and varying levels of understanding about the subject at hand. For example, when writing about aging-related technologies, keep in mind that many senior adults use different types of technology on a daily basis with varying degrees of experience and expertise.
Remember that Language Is Always Changing!
It can become easy to for home care marketers to talk about aging in the ways we are most comfortable or have always done; however, to continue pushing for more inclusivity and less age discrimination in marketing practices, marketers should constantly be on the lookout for new ways to discuss the aging process, including using the preferred terms by older adults. For example, a 2016 study found many people preferred the terms “older adult” or “older people” over “senior” and “elderly,” which were commonly-used terms in previous years. Although it is necessary to continue to include words like “senior” and “elderly” as part of the search engine optimization strategy for your website, since many people still use those words when searching for care, it’s important to also start using other preferred terms throughout your marketing vehicles to show respect.
When it comes to marketing strategies that can help your agency respectfully address aging populations, contact corecubed today at 800.370.6580. As the elder care marketing experts, our experienced and knowledgeable team can work with you to help tell your brand’s story, create a user-friendly website, develop informative website content and so much more. Reach out today to learn more.