Are you an OAP – or a grey panther?

Alan Patchett of Age UK Sunderland
Alan Patchett of Age UK Sunderland
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THE “grey panthers” are on the prowl.

A recent survey revealed over-65s are fed up with being called old-age pensioners (OAPs), with almost half preferring the term grey panther.

But Wearside’s older generation have trashed the findings, saying they are quite happy with their OAP titles.

Marjory Price, 70, of Town End Farm, said: “I’ve never been called a grey panther and think it sounds a bit like I’m a cougar.

“I don’t mind being called an OAP. I am an OAP.”

The term grey panther was also alien to retired teacher Pat Berry who said she has no problem with being called a pensioner.

“It’s accurate and right,” the 85-year-old, of Hastings Hill, said. “I don’t mind, as long as they keep paying my pension.“

Bob Doran, 72, of Hendon, added: “No, I’m not offended by being called an OAP, although I’d prefer to be seen as an individual rather than collected into a group.”

Edward Wray, 74, of Thorney Close, added: “I don’t find much offensive really, but I don’t like the terms old fogie or twirlie.”

The most popular term picked by the 2,500 quizzed for the MGM Advantage survey was senior citizen, followed closely by retired person.

Alan Patchett, director of Age UK Sunderland, is currently leading a national group to help change the public’s perception and attitudes towards the ageing population.

He said: “Personally, the thing I hate is OAP because if you think of someone who has retired at 60 or 65 and they’re certainly not old aged. I think it’s well out of date to use that terminology and our favourite expression to use is older people as the term elderly can have connotations of being feeble.

“You see some people who are 86 and don’t need any help, then you see some people who are in their 60s who need a lot of help so it’s very diverse.”

He added that the main problem he encounters when speaking to older people is that they feel like the forgotten generation and he aims to address the issue through the working group.

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