Letters to the Editor: I am old, not ‘elderly.’ And don’t call me a ‘senior’ or ‘sprightly’

President Biden meets with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the White House on Feb. 9.
President Biden meets with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House on Feb. 9.
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

To the editor: Thanks to UC San Francisco sociologist Stacy Torrres for her op-ed article on what to call old people.

I am 90 years old, and I am “old.” I dislike “elderly,” and I detest “senior.” I was a senior in the 12th grade and in my fourth year in college.

I am lucky to be physically fit (I am in my 46th year of ballet classes) and mentally about as good as ever. In addition, I loathe the word “sprightly,” which, fortunately I have never been called.


In my dance classes, I join dozens of people of many ages. I am treated like everyone else in that wonderful environment. I make no claim to wisdom, but I have lived through a lot of history.

I hope that anyone who looks down on the aged thinks twice. We are first and foremost human beings.

Julie May, Los Angeles


To the editor: I really think Torres makes a mountain out of a molehill with her insistence that we change the language we use to refer to those of us of advanced age. (There, is that inclusive enough?)

I happen to be 76, and I don’t care if you call me an old person, a senior, elderly or whatever. If you were to take a poll of us older folks, you would probably find they mostly feel the same way.

One other thing: Since Torres suggests that the term “Latine/x” is preferable for describing Latinos, she might like to know that there have been polls taken within this community that have found fewer than 10% call themselves “Latinx.”


Phil Hyman, Van Nuys


To the editor: After hearing endless speculation on President Biden’s mental acuity and fitness for office at his age, I turned to the “Nature” show on PBS titled, “Attenborough and the Jurassic Sea Monster.”

There was David Attenborough, age 97, famed biologist, natural historian and broadcaster. He was trotting about the English coast chatting up a team of experts who were unearthing the gigantic head of an ancient predator, pilosaur.

It was heartening to note that some of the experts hanging off a perilous cliff, boxing up the six-foot head, were also silver haired — and competent.

Having the 81-year-old president reelected is far from our worst option. It’s the person who counts.

Frances Tibbits, Pacific Palisades



To the editor: Bette Davis is said to have had a sofa cushion that read, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.”

We grew up surrounded by insults, dealing them out and getting them back, like playing cards. Few complained as people do today about hurtful comments, microaggressions, feeling unsafe or not having their feelings validated.

Nowadays, the people who moan the loudest about microaggressions are the quickest to call others old, disgusting, incompetent, racist, colonialist, XYZ-phobic, cultural imperialist and other such baloney.

I’ll gladly put up with insults about old age — the price of not dying young — if I never have to hear or read about microaggressions again.

Chuck Almdale, North Hills