Calling those aged 65 and over 'grey panthers' or 'silver surfers' is preferable to calling them 'old-age pensioners', according to a survey.

Nearly all (97%) of over-65s who were asked said they certainly do not like the term 'elderly', as calls were made for politicians to use phrases representing the 'diverse demographic' of Britain's older generation.

Some 2,500 older people took part in the research, which was commissioned by MGM Advantage.

Two fifths prefer the term 'senior citizen' to OAP or elderly, while other favoured terms include 'silver surfer', 'grey panther' and 'retired person'.

In each British region, 'senior citizen' was listed as the most popular, except in Yorkshire and south-west England, where the over-65s liked being addressed as 'a retired person'.

Distribution and marketing director at retirement income specialists MGM Advantage, Aston Goodey, said that 17% of the UK population is retired, and they are a 'sizeable and influential demographic'.

He continued: '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'.

He added that it is 'high time' we spoke to older people as individuals, and made sure we tailored products and services to their needs.

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK said: 'Language is a really powerful tool in changing people's attitudes and perceptions towards older people. The over 60s are an incredibly diverse group of people - stretching across up to four decades as well as ethnically and socially diverse.

'If a vast majority of that group report that they dislike the label of "elderly" attaching to them, then surely it would be courteous at the very least to examine whether that term continues to be used.'

Article from Age UK