I’ve been arguing for some time that an ageing population is not a problem but a bonus. It is only regarded as a problem because societies in most country’s insist on regarding it as such and hence it becomes self-fulfilling.

Why should extended life for the oldest members of society, the ones with the most knowledge, experience and wisdom be a problem? We are the group with the most knowledge of the history and development of our different countries and societies from the consumer and resident’s point of view. Between us we have a tremendous amount of desirable attributes which therefore makes us valuable. Our knowledge of the past, for example, where we have come from, helps to put today’s knowledge and lifestyle into perspective and creates a trajectory into the future.

The only reason that our existence is described as a problem is because the rest of society has decided it will be labelled as such. Sure our bodies tend to deteriorate physically but there are plenty of ways that this can be compensated for with medications and physical supports. For most of us our bodies can cope quite well with our requirements, although more slowly, but then what’s the hurry? People push past us in the street and on public transport but often either it doesn’t save them any time, or if it does it is too miniscule to be useful. Dare I suggest that those doing the pushing don’t have the experience or knowledge to put such behaviour into perspective!

If we look at older people’s other capabilities instead of our physical limitations we are a tremendous source of riches.

Can you imagine living in a country in which older people were regarded as a source of knowledge, wisdom and experience upon which todays’ society is built and, more importantly, which will help to drive the future in an acceptable and desirable way? Have a look at the big mistakes of the past. Did these occur because of the lack of wisdom of older people or the headlong decisions of younger members of communities? Would we have had two horrific world wars if the antagonists had been older people with their knowledge gained over time? The same question could be asked about the endless battles which seem to be constantly happening in different parts of the world. The current horrific racial war which is threatening so many parts of the world is the result of headstrong youth rather than the wisdom of older people. Yet the people who pay the price for it are of all ages, but particularly the older people.

Can we older people ever take our rightful place in the world until younger people realise that we have so much to offer that they lack? We are not a burden but can be seen as a huge asset if younger people will take a good, hard look at the society in which we live together. This can’t be achieved until younger people are willing to do this. Meanwhile they are creating huge and unnecessary burdens for themselves and their societies.