Google+ Badge

Friday, September 28, 2012

Please Don't Call Me That

I've been seeing those commercials on t.v. a lot lately. They run the gamut of scenarios, but the messages are all the same - if you are getting older, you need to get a push-button alarm system. I don't want you to think I have something against these systems. They are, in my opinion, a great service. They can give people a greater sense of security about being by themselves because help is available at the touch of a button. Someone who is prone to falls or any other problems could possibly have their lives saved by the devices.

My problem is with the advertising used to sell these services. The first one I remember ever seeing had an elderly lady lying on the floor and calling out, "I've fallen and I can't get up!" This certainly preyed on the real fears that someone might have of being caught in the same situation. Unfortunately, millions of people thought that it was hysterically funny. It was parodied in many ways, and was probably printed on lots of t-shirts. This bothered me on numerous levels. Having been raised by an older woman, I have first-hand knowledge of falls and how painful and frightening they can be. My little Gram had falls that she wasn't able to get up from afterwards. I became adept at helping her get back into a upright position. There were even a few times that I came home from work and found her on the floor, having failed in her struggle to get back up again. I felt tremendous guilt knowing that she had been sitting on the floor, waiting for me to come home and help her get moving again. So, no, I don't find falls funny. 

Another approach that I have seen recently is the lady whose daughter drops by for a visit and saves her mother, who had fallen in the bathtub. One of the things mom says in the commercial is that not only does she feel safe, but she feels even younger! I must cry foul. Getting a push-button alarm system will not make you younger. Nor will it make you stronger or smarter or prettier or sexier. 

Several of these commercials go on to do something that has irritated me for years. Perhaps it is because I can get so irritated that I turned into The Lunatic? Anyway, back on subject. Lots of these commercials feature an old lady with a hissy voice and a slightly holier-than-thou attitude saying, "ALL Senior Citizens should get LifeAlarm." Hunh? I guess this just goads the natural smart-aleck in me. If I am not a Senior, does that mean I am not really a citizen, and therefore unworthy? Or are they implying that only someone born in the USA deserves to be rescued from falls, thereby taking immigration debates to a whole new and creepy level? I still haven't figured that one out. Perhaps it's because I only spend about thirty seconds at a time thinking about it.

But I have decided that if and when I reach the official age of seniorhood, I do not want to be called a senior citizen. There are any number of things I could be called or described as that sound better to me. One of them would be Alive. Still crazy after all these years comes to mind, and would no doubt be appropriate. Wise old woman would be nice. And if I keep my sense of humor, an occasional weisenheimer would be okay. Unacceptable forms of address would be crazy old lady, dithering old fool, or dotty old hag. A senior citizen does need to establish some limits, after all!