There's a subreddit called r/AdorableOldPeople and as you might guess, it shares screenshots and pictures of old people making the world a better place.
First of all, we are not huge fans of the name. As philosophy teacher Randall Horton pointed out in Huff Post, even people in their 50s like to think they are in their "young 50s" or that they look good "for their age." As they get older, they become "a little more patient, more accepting, less doctrinaire, and, yes, sadder and wiser." However, they do not think they become more adorable, precious, charming, or sweet. Attributing these words to older folks can send the wrong message. They might think we're infantilizing them. So we won't.
But the content of the subreddit is awesome. Whether we're talking about teens or seniors, people can be jerks, so it's always appropriate to celebrate the ones that aren't. Continue scrolling and you will find a hand-picked collection of the most popular posts on the sub.
She Said "I Haven't Been Carried Like This Since My Wedding Day"
Some call the issue Horton highlights as "elderspeak," which, according to her, is characterized by treating older people more as children than as fully functioning adults. In fact, she feels this demeaning language is often inappropriate for children as well. Horton said elderspeak is a problem in health care settings too.
"For some reason, when people talk to older patients, they tend to slow their speech, raise the volume, and sing their sentences," she explained. "In addition, every statement seems to become a question and second person pronouns are replaced with first-person plural pronouns ( e.g., 'you' becomes 'we') ... At a time when nursing home workers are sharing explicit photos and videos of older adults on social media, complaining about 'sweetheart' seems almost quaint, but both the diminutive terms and the more extreme demeaning media rob patients of their dignity and personhood."
Grandfather With Vitiligo Crochets Dolls To Make Children With This Condition Feel Better
It's clear that the subreddit and its members mean well, but Horton said people seem to think they are honoring seniors by treating them as mascots. "Many videos on social media feature adults who are 'adorable' or 'precious' dancing, singing, or doing other activities they have no doubt done for their entire lives. The videos are presented with the exact same attitude behind videos of kittens, puppies, and babies."
"Videos of the elderly seem to take the same attitude: It is amazing that older people might still do the things they love. If they make the attempt to engage in the activities that make them happy, they are 'so cute.'"
This Is So Cute. Selfie Stick Review
Treating old adults like this can lead to serious consequences. For instance, when health care providers infantilize old adults, they can overlook the sexual health of these patients. As this article states, “prevailing misconceptions among health care providers regarding a lack of sexual activity in older adults contribute to making elders an extremely vulnerable population."
The result of this ignorance is that STD rates among the elderly are increasing at an alarming rate; even though about 80 percent of adults aged 50 to 90 years old are sexually active, they are infrequently screened for STDs.
But Horton is more concerned about what she calls "the basic harm."
"As we age we lose the respect of our fellow beings and we lose our status as persons," she said.
Obama Told This 90-Year Old Veteran He Didn't Have To Stand. He Said, "No Sir, You're The President"
My Professor Is 74 And He Isn’t Confident Using Zoom So He’s Prerecorded The Rest Of Our Classes. Today, I Watched The First One. He Has A Pinocchio Doll In The Front Row Because He Isn’t Comfortable Teaching To An Empty Room. I’m Social Distancing For This Man And This Man Only
According to her, old people are still rational and intelligent. "I realize we all suffer some cognitive decline as we age and some are affected by diseases that accelerate or accentuate that decline, but young people also suffer brain injury, disease, and other limitations on cognitive ability. Age is not a sufficient reason to believe someone is stupid."
Her text really makes sense. And we are not trying to belittle anyone. "Adorable old people” is obviously better than mean-spirited, dismissive remarks about aging, but it may not be the best description of these pictures. But as mentioned in the intro, we look at these individuals as simply good human beings.