They say growing old is not for sissies. We need to change the way society looks at and deals with growing old. The prevailing view of ageing is that it’s something to be feared. The ageing process is a natural part of the life cycle. Instead of dreading old age, we should be celebrating the fact that we are living longer, that ageing is not a burden but an opportunity. Growing older really can be the ‘great adventure’.
A survey carried out in the UK asked older people what their main priorities were. The first issue was health. You would expect the second to be money or pensions but it was actually the maintenance of social contacts. Keeping in touch with people is an essential part of healthy living when you get older. Many over 65’s are mortgage-free and fitter and healthier than previous generations. It’s a time when we can let ourselves dare to be more real, honest and open. We can drop the niceties and strictures of who we have been brought up to be, and start to be ourselves, without being so bothered about how others may ‘see’ us.
Old age is an opportunity to do all those things you never had time for before. Instead of spending billions on walling off the ageing, we should be spending more to improve the quality of life among the aged.
Age Action Ireland is a charity which promotes positive ageing and better policies and services for older people. Yesterday, saw the announcement of the winners of the 2010 Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action. The awards aim to acknowledge elderly people who have used IT and the internet for fun and to improve the quality of their lives. Internet access is a great way to combat isolation and allow older people to communicate with relatives abroad. You can read the stories of the winners from each category here.
The top accolade of the 3 Silver Surfer Award 2010 went to a 95 year old grandfather from Dublin who was nominated by his granddaughter. This goes to show… you’re never too old to embrace technology!