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Sacramento, CA – The California Assisted Living Association (CALA) has published a new guide focused on helping eliminate age-bias in communication.

Elevate Aging Through Language: A Usage and Style Guide is available on the CALA website. The guide was compiled from data obtained through the Elevate Aging Project conducted in partnership with Elder Care Alliance in 2018. It identifies words and phrases that perpetuate ageist views and suggests replacements that promote positive views of aging. In addition, the guide covers the use of an inclusive, person-centered philosophy of composition which aging experts believe is important to preserving dignity for older adults.

“By practicing a person-centered service philosophy, California’s senior living communities help foster a sense of belonging and individual significance among residents,” said CALA president & CEO Sally Michael. “In contrast, communication and attitudes that focus mainly on age do the opposite by taking away individuality of older adults and reducing them to stereotypes.”

The style guide was based on data gathered via an interactive display at Elevate: CALA’s Conference & Trade Show. Visitors were asked to respond to questions about their personal feelings on aging as well as age-related language. The responses from this initial event and subsequent events of aging professionals resulted in a robust data set of words and phrases, both those that are considered by the field to be ageist and those that have a positive connotation.

“Senior living professionals are in the unique position to understand and educate others about the negative effects of ageist language. We hope that this guide, which is based on caregivers’ expertise and experience, will begin the shift away from ageist beliefs and toward more aging-friendly thoughts and actions,” Michael said.

Click here to download the style guide and learn more about the Elevate Aging Project. Additionally, CALA members may access a PowerPoint presentation that provides additional information.

About CALA
With more than 650 provider members and over 150 associate members, CALA is the only association solely representing the state’s Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly, which encompass Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities. CALA provides leadership through advocacy efforts and education to support providers in their efforts to offer the highest quality programs and services to their residents.


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