Archives for posts with tag: politics

Ageism is the name given to the different ways other people put us down and treat us as second class citizens, just as they did and still do, with women through sexism.
I was reminded of how widespread ageism is at a conference on ageing I was at last week . Two groups combined for the conference, those working in the field of ageing (Aged Care Services) and those who study ageing (Gerontologists). Twice on the first day of the conference I was standing in a queue and a woman pushed in front of me. Obviously in each case the women felt that as an older woman I was unimportant and had no rightful place in the queue. They treated me as though I was invisible.
I couldn’t know which of the two groups they were from but it just shows had badly we are regarded when people from either organisation can behave like that. I am trying to persuade us older people to believe in ourselves and realise that we are important members of society and we have a lot to offer but when people working in aged care and/or studying ageing can behave like this towards us it makes me realise what a huge task we have ahead.
Apparently these people are too thick to realise that the chances are that they too will be old one day and how would they like to be treated as nothings in the later stage of their lives?
We have a long battle ahead which is why I want older people all over the world to realise that we all face the same problem (just as women did and in some places still do). If the millions of older people across the world can unite we will have power and can bring about change.
We all suffer from the same behaviour towards us. In those countries (if any) where ageism doesn’t happen I hope we can learn from them how they achieved it.
We should be able to enjoy the later stage of life without these ‘put downs’. It looks as though this will only happen if we fight for it.

It’s easy to think you know about ageing from information you’ve picked up during the earlier part of life but the reality is very different and it is a learning curve.

In my area we are having the NBN being rolled out for connection in April (interestingly I’m sure this isn’t the first roll out but Telstra still don’t have a pensioner’s package). The other morning there were workmen on my street and I assumed it was in connection with this. I went out for a while and when I got back my mailbox had been crushed, presumably by a huge branch which had been broken off the nearby gum tree. I went to speak to the workmen and the foreman came back and looked at the damage. He partially straightened out the mailbox and promised to replace it. I didn’t ask about the tree branch as it was next to their trailer and I assumed they would take it with them. Needless to say I am left with the crushed mailbox and the tree branch. In my younger days I would have been more aggressive, got their details and specified what they would do about it and who I could contact if they didn’t.

Part of the problem is that if the workers were connected to the NBN then they are Federal government employees, if not they are local ACT employees. I’m suspecting the former so I have contacted my Federal MP. It will be interesting to see where this will end up. I’ll keep you posted. I would like to have my belief in human beings restored.

To make matters worse, the tree branch was left on my neighbour’s nature strip. When I went out a couple of days later I returned to find that the tree branch had been moved on to my nature strip. It would have taken at least two of them to sneak out and move it. There are young children calling that place home with its unacceptable values.

A few years ago I would have taken all of this in my stride but now I no longer have the energy to make decisions and tackle the problem.

We know that as we age we lose muscle strength but we only think about physical frailty. From my own experience and that of my friends it looks as though we also lose our mental strength and resolve when it comes to tackling problems. I hope that if I do manage to get my book on ageing published  these types of issues can be brought to light so that there is a better understanding of what happens when we age. People might then think twice about their behaviour when older people are involved.

I heard someone say the other day that if enough people care miracles can happen. We older people are so thick on the ground these days that if we can get together (via the computer) then we could easily change the world to make it a better place.

How many older people really support violence I wonder? The crime statistics for our group is well down on that of other groups. I suspect the reason for this has not been fully studied. Is it because we no longer have the energy to go out and commit an offence of any type, or in our wisdom gained over decades do we realise that nobody really benefits from this activity. Is there another reason? If we could sort out the cause of violence it would help to contribute to a better world.

The US is currently trying to sort out their gun possession problem in which their young children, the next generation, is currently the innocent victim group. What surprises me is that certainly from an Australian view-point no one seems to be analysing the situation there and hence moving towards a solution. Has anybody looked at why people really feel the need to have guns? One argument is that people feel safer with them yet apparently this is one item which is regularly stolen in robberies. That wouldn’t make me feel safe.

What about those who purchase guns and regularly  use them? It seems to me that they fall into two categories depending on what they are shooting at. If they are merely shooting at target boards then perhaps it is a genuine sport in which people can practice and improve their skills, possibly winning competitions with like-minded people. The other group is the one that concerns me. They use living things (animal or human) as their objects and glorify in the death, instant or otherwise, which follows. There are so many examples of this being labelled ‘sport’ across the world, much of it having a history of such activity. In Britain, for example, grouse shooting has long been recognised as a legitimate sport, particularly among the rich. Some migrants to Australia want to continue the sport of pig shooting which was apparently a popular sport in their home countries. It is the aspect of killing another living creature that worries me. Is there a character defect that leads some people to have the need to kill in this way? I always assume that countries which retain the death penalty haven’t quite reached the same level of development  or civilisation as countries which have abolished it.

Can we older people in our wisdom speak out against violence of any sort and gun violence in particular? Can we change the climate of violence and bring about a miracle?

Audrey

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?

Audrey