I’ve just finished doing research into ageing. I should say I’ve finished formal research as I think studying ageing will be a lifelong quest. What I want to do now is to write it down in a book (which I hope will be called ‘Enjoying Ageing’). I think it will to some extent be unique because not only have I been researching the topic but at 76 I have also been very much experiencing it!
I get so disgusted with the way we older people are treated. In a way it’s a ‘Catch 22″ situation because we are treated badly (as second class citizens) so we tend to live up to what people expect of us. It’s not an easy cycle to break but I am sure we can do it if enough of us are determined to succeed (it’s the same battle women and coloured people have had/are having to overcome discrimination against them). Basically the only difference between us and non-ageing people is that we are physically more frail. Apart from that there is no difference yet we are so often treated as though we are mentally less able because we have grey hair and wrinkles. Logical? I think not. Of course one of the reasons for this is that so often people regard retirement as a time of unlimited leisure without realising that the post work period of our lives now lasts for decades. We forget that this type of retirement has some downsides including it can get very boring and it doesn’t give us any self-esteem nor does it give us any role in the community, the latter two items necessary for a satisfying life. Are our lives worth living if we have no self-esteem and no place in the community? What happens to our brains if we are hardly using them? This is why I am advocating that we use this later part of our lives to follow our dreams or to find new ones.
Most of my book will be based on experience and my research but I am only one life and my book won’t be representative if this is all I am using. What I am asking older people to do is to write to me at YourStory@over65.net and tell me about the pluses and minuses you are experiencing with ageing. I only want responses from people over 65 please. I am told that these will go directly into my email box. Of course please feel free to use this address to contact me on other issues. I won’t promise to reply to each but I will read them all. It reminds me of a gentleman in his 90’s in Scotland who was really lonely after his wife died so his grandsons set up a blog for him (and took him on holiday to the Alps!). His blog was inundated with responses and I expect that being a Scottish gentleman he felt he had to reply to all. It got too much for him and in the end he had to shut it down.
If we are to have a better deal as older people in terms of the way society views us we are going to have to speak up. I have a sign on my car about this website. The lady next to me in a car park asked about it. When I mentioned that all we hear about older people is negative she was in entire agreement. We have to change this. With your help we can.