In the working population, the word retirement generally conjures up wistful thoughts of long lie-ins, lazy days, unlimited opportunities to pursue hobbies and the chance to finally get around to doing all of the things that you've never quite had time for. Is that really the reality of retirement though, and what can my 30-something generation expect in later life?
Although it seems a lifetime ago, it feels like yesterday. Time doesn't heal; it just makes grief go out of focus. And anything can bring it sharply back again: a photograph, a scent, a memory or just the endless yearning pall of homesickness so familiar to people who've lost their parents too early.
I was reading an article today about being in your mid thirties. How, according to a 'recent survey', in your mid-thirties you are likely to be financially secure, at the peak of your career, a home owner, probably married with at least one child. And there's me thinking cutting out booze in the evenings every other week was progress.
We're living longer. In just the last two decades, average life expectancy has risen by four years. But living longer doesn't necessarily mean living healthier: half of these extra years of life are marred by pain and trips to the doctor due to chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer, joint pain, asthma, osteoporosis, stroke and heart disease...
As I ponder the vicissitudes of this strange new world it occurs to me that we live in a culture that not only is youth oriented but people are acting it out in a variety of ways. Whether it's spiritual vitality, jumping out of planes at 90 or running marathons way into their dotage we seem to be defying gravity. What's wrong with that
One in five people in the UK will be 65 and over by the year 2020 and longevity should be celebrated. Growing older isn't a disease, it happens to us all! Treating older people with dignity and respect in care homes and hospitals is one of the most urgent aspects of later life that needs to be addressed.
There are concerns: fears about inauthentic relationships, particularly with respect to end of life care. Our acceptance of introducing human-like but not actually human helpers might qualify as an infringement on personal dignity. So, the next step should be targeted attention on specialized 'bots that will be able to assist and care for older adults.
I hope there never comes a time when my daughter suffers from self doubt due to her appearance or feels the need to surgically 'enhance' her incredibly perfect self. There is much more pressure in the world she's growing up in than I had to deal with, and I will do what I can to equip her to have confidence in herself, as she is
One of the great challenges within an ageing society is maintaining connectivity between the generations. Far too much of our society exists within a silo mentality, and that is also true when it comes to issues of family geography. With our global economy, many family members are often geographically isolated from each other - potentially connected only via digital communications.
Nothing remains the same for any length of time. Life is constantly shifting and moving beneath our feet. And while on the surface this is a rather depressing thought, it needn't be if we learn how to embrace change and unpack its blessings. Because with each painful change comes the opportunity for new growth and new possibilities.
It is perhaps no wonder that I often read comments from younger people vehemently arguing against getting older. They don't want to lose their money, independence, purpose or standard of living, nor do they want to need care or be the recipient of poor care. For all of us who possess youth rather than experience the time to change this culture is now.
The population of the UK is ageing. By 2025, half the population will be over 50. Our media and politicians are warning us of the consequences of this for our public services and national debt. What very few people are talking about is one of the ways we can tackle this looming crisis: our personal relationships.