The problem with Getting Old
Oct 21, 2013
I guess it’s inevitable that the older we get, the more time we spend thinking about getting old. (The fact that I run a website dedicated to Over 50s planning and personal finance doesn’t help!)
Those lovely reminders that our bodies aren’t performing in quite the same way they used to (or is that just me). That automatic grunting noise as we sit down or get up out of a chair; those three additional paces it takes for your back to fully straighten when you stand up. Don’t worry, I’m not at the point of measuring myself to check for shrinkage but I am aware that over coming years I will start to view the world from a different height.
It occurred to me that ageing is a double whammy. Not only do you start to experience physical and mental changes; society starts to treat you differently too. In fact in a recent survey conducted by Age UK, 60% of older people in the UK said they believed age discrimination existed; with a further 68% believing that politicians view older people as a low priority.
Our world is changing so society needs to change too. If we are not careful we are heading into a major crisis brought on by getting. Our ageing population is increasing putting additional strain on health and welfare services. We therefore can’t afford to treat ageing as ‘low priority’.
You already can’t open a newspaper without reading horror stories about mistreatment of our elderly so what will happen when the number of Over 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s start to increase? At present the expectation is that 1 in 5 of us will live to see 100; what happens when that age is seen as the norm?
The government obviously has to lead the way but we should not just sit back and wait. We all need to make changes in our life and our beliefs to adapt to this changing world. Think about the age limits we impose on things such as insurance services; change our views on recruitment and embrace the wealth of experience an older employee can bring to the work place; treat our elders with respect and dignity and not as tiresome children. With 53% of adults saying they believe our elderly are treated as children, this last comment isn’t so far from the truth.
In a nutshell we need to help ourselves. We are getting older so these problems will affect us one day, if they don’t already. We need to do what we can in our lives be it at work or at home to accommodate our ageing nation.
A longer life should be seen as a positive thing and not a drain on society. As the saying goes ‘what goes around comes around’. It will be your turn soon!