Two years ago today, my partner and I were in Paris celebrating my 40th birthday. We had a great time, jumping on and off the metro, drinking hot chocolate outside little café’s, getting lost in the Louvre….
A lot’s happened in the last two years which has brought to the realisation recently that our responsibilities towards our families, specifically our parents have changed. Now it’s time for us to look after them.
So I’m 42 today and have been a bit grumpy about it. I was interested to read an article “Old age should not be approached with horror” in the Guardian this morning which welcomes the report “Ready for ageing” from the House of Lords select committee.
It is telling that the report comes from the energised older House of Lords, while it is the young who make policy.
One of the things I notice in my line of work, is how many older people are fobbed off by their GP’s/NHS with the line…”It’s your age….wear and tear…” Most people over 65 who have some sort of muscle/joint pain will be told it’s probably arthritis (often, in my experience without radiographic or blood testing to confirm). They’re told to take painkillers…. The sad fact is that a young fit chap who’s hurt a knee whilst snowboarding is likely to receive better care than an elderly slightly overweight woman with arthritis of the knee. Both are equally important members of society who deserve the same standard of care.
It’s just as important when we’re older to keep exercising. If there are painful joint’s, arthritis etc it is important to keep the musculature strong and supple which doesn’t happen by sitting in a chair. Older people need access to leisure facilities such as swimming, gym…hey even Zumba and should not be put off from doing so by our youth obsessed culture.
We need also to be able to talk openly about dementia and how best to cope with it!
Time to change our attitudes towards ageing. We have to be able to talk openly about the challenges of growing old, keeping ourselves healthy and maintaining dignity and independence. With that in mind, I’m going for a walk in the sunshine and stopping off for tea and cake somewhere.