Sunday, October 24, 2010

What's in a name?

Chris and I went for a walk today.  We enjoy walking through one small park that is planted all in native grasses, then meandering through the lovely area that is by the Wheat Ridge Senior Recreation Center.  We are lucky to have this place so close to us.  We don't make use of it much now, but we probably will as we get older.  They have lots of activities, classes, and trips for those of us who are over fifty years old.  I suspect, however, that most of their participants are somewhat older than fifty.
Something has changed since we last walked by.  They've changed their name from "Senior Center" to "Active Adult Center".  Huh?  Is "Senior" not an appropriate term anymore?  Maybe the city thinks they'll get more fifty-somethings coming to the center now that they've changed the name?  Or maybe they think the current participants will feel younger if they are now known as "Active Adults"?  It certainly doesn't make me feel younger, just tireder.  It brings back the memory of getting up early, getting children ready for school, working all day, driving kids to after school activities, coming home, cooking dinner, going to a school meeting, coming back to dirty dishes and that last load of dirty laundry, then going to bed to start it all again in a few hours.  That's an active adult.  Chris was hoping for an "Inactive Adult Center", with plenty of recliners, free beer, and a large screen TV.
I thought that "senior citizen" was already the politically correct term for "old person".  Just for the sake of research, I looked up the synonyms for "senior citizen" and found no mention of "active adult".  There are a few other synonyms that might work.  We could have the ""Antiquated Adults Center" or the "Venerable Time-worn Adults Center".  I'm not so sure about "Moth Eaten Old Fogey Center".  That might offend a few people.  Compared to these names, "Senior Center" doesn't sound so bad!
It was comforting to know that there was a senior recreation center around the corner where I'd be able to go and be social with other creaky old timers some day.  I hope the city remembers that the people who most make use of this center are the matriarchs, patriarchs, golden-agers, doyens and doyennes, elders, and old folks - not fifty-somethings.  I'm not sure I'd look forward to going to an "Active Adult Center"; an active SENIOR adult center, maybe.  At least that changes the picture for me a little.
I know!  Let's call it the "Center for Older People who have Time to Do Things They Want to Do".
The new "Invesco Field" is still known and called "Mile High Stadium" by nearly everyone in Denver.  I suspect that the new name of our center will not be used much.  Fortunately, whatever it's official name, it will undoubtedly remain our Wheat Ridge Senior Recreation Center.  At least it will to me.