An older person wrote into our local paper the other day complaining that she had had to remove her shoes at an airport security check and no seat was provided for her to do this. The ‘grey nomads’ are becoming a huge part of the travel industry and our needs should be recognised. Many of us are not longer capable of wobbling on one leg while we remove a shoe from the other! The lady who raised this issue had her husband with her to help but many older people travel alone.

So many other issues which affect us with our reduced mobility benefit other people too. I remember when my eldest child was a toddler in a stroller that getting through the door of the local bank was a nightmare. It took all my strength to push the door open without the problem of trying to guide a stroller through too (I seem to remember a step adding a complication). I now realise that this would have been a problem for their older customers as well and wish I had suggested asking for the manager and giving him the opportunity to try to get through his door with a toddler in a stroller! In those days keeping a 2-year-old happy in a small flat didn’t leave much time or energy for being an activist.

Many older people can find the time to fight for a better world and with computers connecting us to a wider world we have much more opportunity to try to do this. It is very easy to google to find the person or information you want and then use your computer to bring about change. With so many issues also affecting other age groups and contact with people across the world being so easy we really ought to do something.

I wish we could think of some way of trying to reduce all the violence which seems to affect so many people and make their lives miserable. Even if we had relied on violence (physical or mental) to get our way in our younger days we don’t have the energy now and we have found other ways to achieve what we want. This is part of the wisdom we have acquired in our decades on earth. I wish we could share it. I have just been watching a television program in which 4 young Swedes decided to offer support to the citizens of a neighbouring dictatorship country. They bought, and learned to fly, a small plane which they used to fly low over the country and drop 800 teddy bears (each with its own parachute!). They did it the day after the country’s national day when they correctly suspected that the security forces would have a hangover. It made the dictator the laughing-stock of the whole country as photos of the bears quickly spread through the internet. It hasn’t stopped the horrors of a dictatorship but it has made the people a bit more powerful and brought their situation to world attention.

What can we do?