A puppy or kitten playing clumsily with a toy is certainly categorized as cute. Babies, with their contagious smiles and giggling squeals, are adorable. But when it comes to talking about older adults, please refrain from talking about how ‘cute’ or ‘adorable’ they are.
And, do not refer to them as ‘sweetie’ or ‘honey.’ Terms of endearment can carry different meanings and lead to judgments or assumptions at any age. One of the most damaging behaviors of ageism is to begin treating older adults like children, and words are often part of the problem.