Tuesday, July 27, 2010

old age

Watched a fascinating “Panorama” programme on television last night about old age (presented by 77 year old Joan Bakewell). In future, Social Care costs are clearly going to escalate – at present, there are four workers for every retired person; by 2060, this proportion will have reduced to 2:1; “one in four babies born today will live to be 100”. All rather frightening stuff.
The programme was largely upbeat and looked at some of the innovative ways Britain's baby boomers are looking to future-proof their old age (although I was somewhat irritated by the inference that the bulk of the baby-booming generation have retired/are retiring on final salary-linked pensions), but also warned that with local authorities facing 25 per cent cuts across the board, there was real danger of neglect. Thus far, I’ve been fortunate enough not to have to rely on Government financial assistance throughout my life (apart perhaps from child allowance and a bus pass!) but I also acknowledge that, as a self-employed person for the vast majority of my working life, I haven’t been able to make the levels of pension provision that would ensure financial security in my old age. I really don’t want our children to have to pay for me in my dotage (it’s going to be tough enough for them as things stand!). I wonder if, in say a hundred years’ time, people will be being asked to sign contracts agreeing to have their lives terminated at say 80 years of age in exchange for relative financial security up to that point? For my own part (and I realise I’ll be heavily criticised for this), and provided that I knew Moira was adequately provided for, I’d be prepared to accept another 13 years of vigorous, healthy living and to die at the age of say 75.
Photo: old men enjoying their daily exchanges in Cortona’s town square, Italy 2005.

1 comment:

tallulahpetunia said...

You say that now Steve but the next 15/20 years always seems a lot further away than it really is.
My year 8's think I'm embarrassingly ancient and I'm sure that, if given the option, they would happily sign to terminate their life before they reached the grand old age of 40!
On a sadder note, my aunt died yesterday at the age of 77 and she fought with every last breath to stay with us, there is always something to look forward to when you have family, kids, grandchildren.
To the outside world she had very little; no money, state pension, council bungalow. Her husband died years ago leaving her to bring up 4 children alone and she worked as a cleaner to make ends meet.
Yet she was probably the richest, most wonderful woman I ever knew. She always had time for us (and cake)and would always listen and see the funny side of life.
It's testamant to her that yesterday her 4 children and her grandchildren were with her (and nieces of course!)
Being loved is everything. If you are loved (and I know you are Steve) then you could NEVER be a burden and your family would fight tooth and nail to not let you leave this planet a minute before you absolutely had to. xxx
PS: Barney already knows that I have no money and I'm going to be a millstone around his neck for the rest of his life ;-)