We are so used to this statement that it no longer creates a positive reaction, but to me this puts us in a dangerous situation which is why I have decided to resurrect my blog. Not surprisingly as each year passes I get a different view of ageing!

I was familiar with the comparison between women fighting for equality and older people fighting to be heard, but it took the ‘Me too’ movement, and the continuing pay gap between men and women, to make me realise that women have really made little progress in what is now well over 100 years. Will older people still be fighting to be heard in well over 100 years time? Can we afford either situation?

A few weeks ago I got an invitation to an international conference on ageing being held in a few weeks time. The two ladies advertising it seemed to have plenty of qualifications but obviously lacked any experience of ageing themselves. 100 years ago we had conferences on women’s issues organised by men, the speakers were men and most of the audience were men with a few token women invited. The parallel today is with conferences on ageing run by younger people, with young speakers and young audiences and a few younger older people who are still physically able to attend.

The inefficiency of both systems is obvious but it is largely the women who are capable of being heard and who can therefore change their situation, even if slowly. As things stand at present we oldies don’t stand a chance of being heard.

I have to compensate for my comparative immobility by relying on webinars which I can watch from home but these have limited value, again because they are organised by younger people who have to base their knowledge on what they read, and who have limited contact with older people. About 20 to 30 years ago a couple of researchers into ageing in the UK applied for a grant from a charity, but were told they could only have it if they included some older people in the research team. They said afterwards it made a huge difference to the quality of the research, yet few other researchers seem to have realised how important this is. It’s the equivalent of men doing research into women’s issues, without involving women, which I assume would be laughed at today.

So where do we start? To me the obvious place is to raise the profile of older people and show that we still have a value in the community. When I started looking I found that there is plenty of material, and that I am not the only person aware of this need and willing to do something about it. One on-line magazine is already on board. In their latest edition they give the example of an elderly lady with dementia and a beautiful voice, and her carer, equally talented, who recorded a famous song from the past. It got to number 7 on the English charts. What a huge amount of pleasure that gave so many people across the world. Even with dementia we have a value.