GRAND Magazine - November/December 2018 - 9

the future of aging

Airbnb guru Chip Conley: Reclaiming "elder"
BY CHIP CONLEY

I

n the past, when people lied about
their age, it was often to portray
themselves as older than they were.
Being an elder gave you clout, gravitas, power. Today, people lie in the
opposite direction for fear of ageism.
And for good reason. Call someone
elderly today and it's like you're suggesting they had a personal relationship with Moses or Abe Lincoln.
It's time to liberate the term
"elder" from the word "elderly."
"Elderly" refers solely to years lived
on the planet. "Elder" refers to what
one has done with those years. Many
people age without synthesizing
wisdom from their experience. But
elders reflect on what they've learned
and incorporate it into the legacy
they offer younger generations. The
elderly are older and often dependent upon society and, yet, separated
from the young. On the other hand,
society has historically been dependent upon our elders, who have been
of service to the young. Moreover,
today, the average age for someone moving into a nursing home is
eighty-one (compared to sixty-five
in the 1950s), so there are a lot of
people who qualify as elders, but are
not yet elderly.
9 GRAND

NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2018

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GRAND Magazine - November/December 2018

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