Our mental models about age and older populations are formed early and reinforced daily through various institutions: the media, schools, government, business and non governmental organizations. Stating, "She is 85" can create a negative image.
Well-being is a combination of a positive self-image and cultural context. By labeling each of us according to our age, we are instantly classified. "She is 85" brings an image of grey-haired, wrinkled, physically slower, retired. Instead we should say, "Julia likes practical jokes, chocolate, water skiing, playing basketball, singing gospel and growing flowers." By describing Julia according to her interests rather than her chronological attributes, we can turn the daily conversation from one of labeling to one of mutual interest.
From the description above, Julia sounds like a lot of fun and could be any age from 8 to 85. The next time you speak or write about someone you know, lose the labels, instead honor who they are.