Use this word carefully and sparingly. The term is appropriate only in generic phrases that do not refer to specific individuals: concern for the elderly, a home for the elderly, etc. In other words, describing a person as elderly is bad form, although the generalized category elderly might not be offensive. If the intent is to show that an individual’s faculties have deteriorated, the Associated Press Stylebook recommends citing a graphic example and attributing it to someone.
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REFERENCE: Media Takes: On Aging