Monday, 6 January 2020


Edward Lucas in the Times last week described how his present of a digital radio for his ageing mother was useless because it was complex and simply too difficult for arthritic fingers. He urged designers to be more empathetic. I think it was George Orwell who said being a fit 75 felt like being 25 with a bad dose of flu….but with a curiously clear head. It’s just moving that hurts.

Here’s what I used to do when it was young:

And here’s what that would feel like now:

To have a sense of what old feels like try these and you’ll get the idea: put on dried old gardening gauntlets and try to pick things up. Try wearing dark glasses covered in grease and you’ll get the idea of how your vision is disturbed. Put cotton wool in your ears whilst playing an episode of the Archers just  below audible level but loud enough to be distracting. Wear a vest two sizes too small so it pinches with a tennis ball sellotaped between your shoulder blades. Wear extra baggy trousers which are a size too big with a belt so tight it’s hard to breathe. Wear a pair of shoes with pebbles in them – one shoe should be a size bigger than you normally wear and the other a size smaller. Tie your shoelaces together with a two foot shoelace.  Hit your left kneecap sharply with a small hammer three times every half hour. Wear a travel pillow round your neck so you can’t turn your head.

Now drink two large glasses of Australian Shiraz (it’ll make you cheerful but slightly drunk and forgetful). Make sure you have and retain a very full bladder.

OK I’m trowelling it on a bit but we are, all of us, a little intolerant of those older and less well than us, forever resisting the urge to say “pull yourself together.”

There are upsides of course. Finding oneself able to take a generous-minded long term view. Being listened to when you talk about the past although one young man said when I spoke of the 1950s said “no it wasn’t like that. I should know because I studied it for A level”. But best of all you have an obsession about being punctual, being prepared, seeing the bright-side and being more thoughtful. An aching body aches less when you think more.

The fastest growing cohorts in the UK and USA are 65+ but it’s odd that most marketing and product innovation effort goes to the 20-40 year olds (13.3million in the UK) and hardly any to the 65+ of us (12.2million).

Aged 27                                      Aged 84

Here’s what Sophia Loren said:
“There is a fountain of youth.
 It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”


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