By Colleen Lockhart
During the CHUMS (Chardon United Methodist Seniors) meeting last month a vote was taken to include the word perennial when describing this organization of individuals who are 60 years and older. Why? CHUMS leader Sally Bell discovered there is a movement to rename seniors as perennials, a word that better describes today’s 60 and older population.
Most seniors do not view themselves as old as long as they are healthy and engaged in life. The word old brings to mind a stage in life that society thinks of as worn, discarded and showing the effects of time.
Language matters and we need a term that aging people can embrace. Some people prefer the comfortably-familiar term boomers. The Washington Post says “A century ago, 40 was old. Today’s older generations are healthier, more cognitively fit and better educated than any previous generation.”
Maureen Conners works in fashion technology, an emerging longevity industry that provides for the needs of older people in areas of education, travel and entertainment, uses the word perennials to refer to older customers.
Think about the definition of perennial in Webster’s dictionary: “lasting or existing for a long or apparently infinite time; enduring or continually recurring.” It suggests a life in which people engage and take breaks, making new starts repeatedly. Given proper conditions, perennials can go on for decades. We are shifting away from the fear of growing old and toward embracing living long, productive, exciting lives.
To learn about CHUMS, a non-profit group of perennials who meet monthly, contact Sally at firstname.lastname@example.org. They hold lunch meetings with current topics and meet at local restaurants and other places of interest.