In my never-ending quest to put the experiences of older adults into new words, I am today challenging all readers to help invent some portmanteaus especially suited for this stage in life. This linguistic phenomenon occurs when two or more phonemes are combined to create a new word, sometimes with elements of a pun. So Tanzania came from smushing together parts of the names of its two originating countries, Tanganyika and Zanzibar. When Brits voted to leave the European Union, Brexit appeared. Sporks are a spoon/fork combination. Brunch equals breakfast + lunch. Workaholic describes overworked blog writers. And of course, mansplaining is what we guys do when we burden the rest of you with what’s totally obvious, just like I’m doing right now with portmanteau !
So here’s the challenge to all of you who like to play with words: See what new terms you could invent that circle around topics regarding older adults. I’ve included some questions here to help prime the pump of your creativity:
• What would you call an assisted living facility that specialized in outdoor activities?
• What’s the noun for an occupational therapist who works on an older person’s spirit?
• What new term could you invent to describe a walker that drove itself?
• What word would you use to describe an older adult who refused to “act your age”?
• What’s the designation for an older person who likes to tap dance?
• What term would you use to describe someone who’s physically feeble but cognitively strong?
• What could you call it when older guys stop shaving every day?
• Name some especially enjoyable activities for senior citizens, but as portmanteaus.
This could be fun, I think, and could likely bring you fame and fortune throughout the world of senior adult nomenclature.
Or as we portmanteaurs might call it, “elderlingoland….”
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