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Why 'elderly' is being replaced with 'older adults' in medical circles

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 26 Nov 2019, 6:44PM
Kate Baddock says the word is biased and judgemental. (Photo / 123RF)

Why 'elderly' is being replaced with 'older adults' in medical circles

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 26 Nov 2019, 6:44PM

The term 'elderly' is being phased out in New Zealand medical circles. 

Medical students at the University of Otago are the latest group to drop the word - instead, they're supposed to say 'older adults'. 

The Ministry of Health has been pushing for more positive older people strategy for years.

Dr Kate Baddock, from the New Zealand Medical Association, told Heather du Plessis-Allan that this isn't be sensitive.

"I think because it doesn't have a definition, who exactly is elderly?"

She says that there are some categories of people who could be called elderly, but there is no guideline of where that should begin, and the word carries a degree of judgement that shouldn't be used. 

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