Can "the elderly" be used in a specific situation?

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lustdevil

Senior Member
Simplified Chinese
As we know, "the elderly" refers to old people in general, like that in "the young should take care of the elderly". What I want to make out is whether it can also been used in a specific situation. For instance, if we are going to broadcast a warning to the people in a crowded subway station, can we say "Please take care of the elderly and children!"? "The elderly and children" apparently means those with you or in the station. Then, do that sentence make perfect sense to you? If not, what is the proper expression? Thanks in advance.
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Well, I did not fully understand the context.

    if it is an announcement that people will hear regularly, I think take care of is a little odd, because it suggests something outside the scope of rail-travel, like getting them meals and making their lives comfortable!

    In a metro announcement I would suggest something like:
    Please pay attention to (the needs of) children and elderly travellers.
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    "If we have to broadcast a warning to the people in a crowded subway station, can we say "Please take care of the elderly and children!"

    I don't see why not. You probably would have to explained that there was a problem.

    "The escalators have failed. We are closing the station until the escalators are repaired. Please take care of the elderly and children by helping them walk upto the ground floor."

    GF..
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Speaking as one who still refuses to accept the term "elderly," when applied to me, ;) I suggest it be rephrased to "children and others who may need assistance."

    An ancillary benefit here is that it also applies to the disabled of any age.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Speaking as one who still refuses to accept the term "elderly," when applied to me, ;) I suggest it be rephrased to "children and others who may need assistance."

    An ancillary benefit here is that it also applies to the disabled of any age.
    I agree. If there is a mechanical breakdown or some other emergency in the subway (or anywhere), where some groups of people—the very elderly, small children, people with disabilities—may be in particular trouble or danger, you would want the announcement to be both as brief and as broad in coverage as possible. I think that Mr. Graham's suggestion works well.
     

    pops91710

    Senior Member
    English, AE
    Speaking as one who still refuses to accept the term "elderly," when applied to me, ;) I suggest it be rephrased to "children and others who may need assistance."

    An ancillary benefit here is that it also applies to the disabled of any age.
    Of course! But in lustdevil's country the elderly are revered, and they expect assistance from those who are younger. What has me slightly puzzled is what good would it do saying it in English since those who are not bothered by the term "elderly" would most likely not understand it or need to understand it? Certainly, if I were travelling in China on the train, I would appreciate any announcement in English, but any further than that would not know how to communicate my attempts to help anyone elderly in Chinese. In the USA you could be taken for a masher trying that!:D
     

    Bigote Blanco

    Senior Member
    This will work: "In the event of an emergency, please take care of the children and elderly."

    Sdgrahm - "In the event of an emergency, please take care of the children and those older-than-dirt folks.":)
    ,
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    This will work: "In the event of an emergency, please take care of the children and elderly."
    I wasn't going to get involved in this underground thread, but you've left me no choice. :D

    I wouldn't limit any announcement to "emergencies" -- children, elderly, disabled, handicapped, special-needs people (however you want to designate people) may need a little extra care and attention even in normal times.
     

    Bigote Blanco

    Senior Member
    The original question included "...to broadcast a warning to the people in a crowded subway station....."

    Copyright, I didn't think anyone would announce a warning in a crowded subway unless it was an emergency, such as a small electrical or moisture problem.

    "If the lights go out and the subway floods, please take care of the children, the elderly and those with special needs."

    "Should a bomb explode during your subway travels today, please take care of the children, the elderly, and those with special needs. "

    The following works or me:

    In the event of an emergency. please pay particular attention to children, the elderly, and to those with special needs."
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    The original question included "...to broadcast a warning to the people in a crowded subway station....."

    Copyright, I didn't think anyone would announce a warning in a crowded subway unless it was an emergency, such as a small electrical or moisture problem.
    It is the crowds themselves that's the problem -- these sorts of announcements are pretty routinely made in crowded conditions. It's too easy for "normal" people to not pay attention to slower or smaller people and to run them over (or even push them onto the tracks if there are no platform screen doors).
     
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