Monday, 18 April 2022


Recently there’s been a lot written about old age and what older people should be called.

Crinklies, Saga Louts, Oldies, Seniors, Golden-Agers, Boomers and so on.

Old Age Happiness: Here Places Where Old People Are Happy | Time

The world seems to be turning against the elderly. Against their assumed wealth, their old fashioned views, their belief that they are right, their increasing longevity, their bed blocking in hospitals, their politics - more likely to be Tory or if Russian, pro-Putin. 

Charlotte Dawson tries to gurn like her famous comic dad Les - Mirror Online

To some they seem somehow tarnished by having lived in an age of capital and corporal punishment, of misogyny, of racism and every other -ism you can think of, of casting couches and magazines like Playboy, of comedians like Les Dawson and Frankie Howard. 

So the charge sheet against crinklies is long and concerning. But, hold on, is this in any sense fair?

1960s Life Vs. Today: Numbers That Will Astound You

The period 1960 to the current day has seen us crinklies oversee and inspire the biggest changes to any society in so short a period of history ever. Quietly and radically our world has been transformed. The changes in the UK have been particularly startling.

As I watch my contemporaries I see an increasing ability to change minds, modify behaviour and be good role models to children and grandchildren. I’ll go with Golden-Ager rather than more derogatory descriptions as being the more apt because we’ve accelerated the pace of good change.

Society today is fairer, kinder, healthier and wealthier than it was in 1960. In 1960 life expectancy was on average 71. Today it’s 81 although the increase has slowed down. 

Top 10 Fittest Female Icons over 70

 In America research suggests that people start to feel “old” when they’re 47. That seems depressingly young. For me it started last Wednesday when I ricked my back and have ever since been pathetic. But the trouble is, as someone once said about age,  getting old is like being young but not feeling very well and that describes the difference between young and old quite neatly.

How can we conquer “ageism” and be of greatest use to the world in our remaining years? How can we stop being embarrassed that house prices have risen thereby inflating our notional wealth? How can we find a voice?

Well let’s stop saying sorry.

Sorry vector emoticon sign Stock Vector | Adobe Stock

And let’s start being stronger in calling out bad behaviour.

Boris has done us a huge favour. He’s exposed the shortcomings of our current politicians in vivid technicolour. Many of them are shameless. And it’s the responsibility of the elder citizens to sit them down and tell them it won’t do with one stern, concerted voice. 

It’s time to stop pretending we’ve retired and don’t want to get involved anymore. We’ve stopped working but that doesn’t mean we haven’t got a job to do  because there’s a lot still to be done. Not least in trying to cheer people up.

Byron Wien the 89 year old Vice Chair of the Investment company Blackstone was vocal about what older citizens should do.

1. Find a “big idea” and focus on that.

2. Network. Meet new people.

3. Look for the best in people.

4. Read avidly.

5.Sleep more. 9 hours a day including a one hour nap.

10 sleep tips for the assessment period | Students - UCL – University  College London

6. Be willing to change. 

7. Travel. (Covid scuppered that.)

8. Underplay your achievements.

9. Thank people for doing well. There isn’t enough gratitude in the world.

10. A handwritten note has much more impact than an e-mail.

I’m trying to do most of those. But I need to appreciate even more the best sides of the many friends I have. It’s our best sides that we need to develop and help others to develop theirs.

That’s enough.

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