The age of age

i want to be forgotten – remember the others “

allinghamThis is a picture of the late Henry Allingham, who passed away this weekend at the age of 113.

His life spanned three centuries, he fought bravely in the First World War and educated children about the horrors of war.

As this  article points out, “it’s getting crowded in the 100 year old’s club”. – 6 million worldwide by the middle of the century.

As life expectancy goes up , what does this mean for the world economy ?

The cost of caring for the elderly is one thing, but should it change how old people can be allowed to stay at work ?

There’s a row about ageism at the BBC at the moment (there often is) – particularly in relation to women.  And a certain 59 year old golfer nearly  won the most prestigous tournament in his sport this weekend.

So, is it time to change our perceptions of what “middle aged ” and “old age” means ?

Are we prepared for the changes to our population and life expectancy ?


14 Responses to “The age of age”

  1. 1 RightPaddock
    July 20, 2009 at 11:40

    Australia is putting up the age at which men can get a gov’t pension from 65 to 67, its going to all happen by 2023! They’re also increasing the pension age for women from 60 to 67 over the same period. And I think they are changing the age at which one can draw down on ones private pension, without incurring a tax penalty (or forgoing a tax benefits, I forget which) from 55 to 65 over the same period.

    As well as Henry Allingham we also just lost Walter Cronkite. His passing brought to mind two of his contemporaries, the recently late Studs Terkel, and the long gone Edward R Murrow. IMO these quotes pay fitting tribute to Cronkite’s life & work.

    “I’ve always felt, that there’s a deep decency in the American people and a native intelligence – providing they have the facts, providing they have the information.” – Studs Terkel.

    “To be persuasive, we must be believable; to be believable, we must be credible; to be credible, we must be truthful.” – Edward R Murrow

  2. July 20, 2009 at 11:43

    As life expenctancy grows, so does the time of the ability to work. Germany has raised it’s working time to 67 years. Even though it was out of economical reasons (ageing society), it’s also good for the people, who don’t know what to do after work.

    How will it be in 30 years, when I approach that age? Maybe we’ll quit working with 80 and we’ll be healthy as ever.

  3. 3 Crispo
    July 20, 2009 at 12:17

    Am a little bit perturbed that this topic is nothing short of confusion. So, what exactly are we supposed to be enumerating? Death of a legendary veteran who saw it all or our own societies? If the former, i say RIP but in case it’s the latter, then my line of argument is, may be we discovered how to live longer in the short run, by not having kids but waiting to suffer in the long run as we run short of help in form of agile young men.

    I rest my case.

  4. 4 patti in cape coral
    July 20, 2009 at 13:24

    I sometimes wish my mother had not retired because she has way too much energy. She is always looking for something to do, and I have to make sure I mow my grass before it gets too long, otherwise I will come home from work and find her mowing it!

    I think our elders are a big untapped resource and are definitely undervalued, at least for sure in the states.

  5. July 20, 2009 at 13:46

    You are as old as you feel, as it goes.

    As long as people can keep in good health, physically and mentally, they can live as long as possible. With birth control, there is no danger of getting an overpopulated world. Thanks to technology, there are many jobs that can be done by the elderly, not necessitating great physical effort.

    The great step now awaiting scientific researches is not just to help people be past 100 but to keep looking as good as if they were still in their forties. This can help the world population keep young for ever.

  6. 6 duckpocket
    July 20, 2009 at 15:16

    How strange, when baldness was taken to be a sign of old age, that young men now choose to ape this by shaving their pates. What are they trying to say? And who would Oscar Wilde be describing today when he remarked upon “people who are bald enough to know better”?

  7. 7 Tom K in Mpls
    July 20, 2009 at 17:07

    To me age is unimportant, I don’t fear age or dying. What matters to me is quality of life. I will never be restricted to a bed. As for most medical progress so far, I call it poor at best. Little has been done to extend a quality lifetime, but the senior home beds are overflowing.

    • July 23, 2009 at 10:28

      Hi Tom.

      Yours was one of the briefest contributions but one I liked most
      ” I don`t fear death or dying” . . me either. To me the key is to LIVE IN THE PRESENT, then age is quite inconsequential. I seem to have done this since childhood and it has served me well.
      I must put in one good word for medical progress which HAS extended MY life due to keyhole surgery when I was given two years to live if I didn`t accept an operation. Two years on I absolutely flourish !
      Good wishes

  8. 10 Michael Hippenhammer
    July 20, 2009 at 18:27

    I am 43 years old in Bend, Oregon. I am in better shape than ever before and I feel like I continue to get better. I am an avid mountain biker, snowboarder and xc skier. I do these sports with people in their 50’s and 60’s who are still very serious about their sports and recently met a woman who is 90 who is bummed that she, as of last year, can’t ski any more. I am a strong believer that excersise is the fountain of youth along with a healthy diet.

  9. 11 Charley in Portland
    July 20, 2009 at 18:30

    I just turned 50 years old, and I expect I shall have to work until I die.

    I don’t have children to look after me in my elderly years; and as the recent economic crash & medical insurance crisis has demonstrated, neither the private sector nor the government in the USA can be trusted to provide support to our vulnerable citizens; neither the aged nor the poor.

    American culture is Darwinian: you must look after yourself, and expect the unexpected, or else you perish.

  10. 12 Kate in Portland, OR
    July 20, 2009 at 18:45

    Older workers may work and learn slower, but that can be massively offset by the fact that they have more experience, work more carefully, and/or may have better judgement.

    I have had a young employee simply follow bad instructions, where and older employee will object and/or question the orders before simply doing the task.

  11. 13 Karen
    July 20, 2009 at 18:51

    In my early 20’s I felt the sting of people past the ‘usual retirement age’ getting jobs before I did; not only did they get one, they often had another part time job, and to further complicate it, they were usually working in entry level positions, not in a job that was putting the elder’s experience to work. In a small town, the elders have so many more contacts than a young person does and there are not many jobs to be had, so it is easy to feel “they got a job I could have had”. I don’t think we should be framing this as “young vs. old” question. I think we should be asking, “Why are there not enough jobs for people who want and need to work and how can we change this?”My leaders toss around the concept of trillions of dollars for a bailout , but a real change could be had if more than a stipend could be had for working through a ‘volunteer’ program in our communities to address public works and social concerns. Putting the usually ‘idealistic’ youth to that task would reap wonderful rewards for the worker and the local and extended communities. A few of the active elders who want to work might just be great at heading up something like that. Using the ‘bailout’ money for a change you can see in your community is so satisfying, while reading that the government is handing over billions to people that can’t manage their own business affairs is not satisfying and seems a little shady. But I digress….

  12. 14 John in Germany
    July 22, 2009 at 15:36

    67 and an office worker-a engineer-a scientist and so on, many would be happy to work as long as they can. A bricky-labourer-farm assistant-road builder, and so on, how the hell can these men who have worked hard all of thier lives work on to 67, they struggle to make 60, with finished backs, and worn joints.

    Some civil servants here in Germany try to get into early pension, obvious why nearly as much pension as salary. They have so many advantages it pays to work a fast one. (not all are this way inclined, then it is in reality criminal to swing the led. It is robbing the people).

    We need young workers to earn and support a family, we need them to pay for our pensions. The more older persons working, the less vacancies for the young. No Children no future.

    Why not use the manifold knowledge from experience in doing, to bring the youngsters up to scratch, there are more better educated today, and guidance from experienced persons would be worth its weight in gold.

    May we please exclude the crooked bankers from the list. Please note The Crooked.

    Thought for the day. Lets hope that Prince Charles has to wait a long time before he can start his real job. Our Queen is still doing well, and seems to get younger.

    John in Germany

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