The population of this country is growing older, but we don't really know how to treat older people. Researchers from Yale studied the health effects of negative perceptions of aging and found that the way we speak to older people is unbelievably important. According to the New York Times, the scientists found that when nurses used phrases like "good girl" or "how are we feeling?", patients were more aggressive and less cooperative. It turns out that people don't like being treated like infants. Makes sense, right?And it's not just nurses: One 77-year-old woman interviewed claims that when she goes to restaurants with a younger friend, the server will ignore her and only speak to the younger person. Isn't it strange that we treat people of a certain age as either demented or invisible? In the Times, Ellen Kirschman, a 68-year-old police psychologist in California, says she hates when people call her "young lady," because she finds it "mocking and disingenuous." She says: "As I get older, I don’t want to be recognized for my age. I want to be recognized for my accomplishments, for my wisdom." In many cultures, respecting your elders is the norm; we're living in a society that trumpets 50 as the new 30 and prizes youth and "anti-aging" above all. But humans are living longer, and that means growing older. We'd better learn how to speak to our elders, since soon, we'll be in their shoes — whippersnappers become old folks one day, if they're lucky. In ‘Sweetie’ and ‘Dear,’ a Hurt for the Elderly [NY Times]