ELDERLY people in the south east don’t like being called pensioners or OAPs - but would prefer to be known as Grey Panthers.
According to new research, over 65s also would not mind being called ‘senior citizen’ or ‘retired person.’
The Government frequently gets it wrong when talking about older people and the term ‘elderly’ - commonly used by David Cameron and Ed Milliband - is disliked by 97 per cent of over 65s.
The research, carried out by retirement income specialists MGM Advantage, also showed that the term ‘old age pensioner’ was also dismissed.
Forty per cent said that ‘senior citizen,’ ‘retired person’ and even ‘silver surfer’ were preferred options.
A significant section of over 65s, around 103,000, would choose to be called a ‘grey panther’, although over half of those suggesting ‘grey panther’ were in fact male.
Aston Goodey, spokesperson for MGM Advantage said: “The retired nation constitutes 17% of the UK population - a sizeable and influential demographic. However it is important to remember that older people are not one homogenised group but a diverse demographic that Government, society and industry cannot afford to refer to as one entity.
“While there is no consensus amongst older people as to how they would like to be addressed, they are deeply aware of society’s desire to categorise them. ‘Senior citizen’ may be the most popular term of reference but there were strong showings for ‘senior’, ‘retired person’ and even ‘grey panther’. It’s high time we talked to the older population as individuals, and strive to ensure products and services are tailored to their needs.”