Aging is about saying goodbye and a reminder of the ephemeral nature of life. Botox and plastic surgery are the favoured companions of many these days but they appeal to our fear of life and by inference, death. It is a sad indictment of our society that we do not value older people or the process of aging.
I'm 59, the eldest of four siblings, but have no partner and no children. A sense of inadequacy grows: what can I leave my nephews and nieces, and their children? I don't mean memories; I mean, what that is tangible and lasting, that I can equitably share among them? It's like feeling a phantom limb, a shadowy disconnect with future generations that I so ache to put right.
This week the Institute for Public Policy Research published a report revealing that the number of older people needing informal care will outstrip the number of family members able to provide it as early as 2017. Worrying news for a social care system already creaking under the strain of not enough funding and too many people in need of care.
'm hardly the world's biggest social networker, so it seems doubtful that when I'm dead I'll suddenly start messaging people for all eternity. Although that's obviously not the case for everyone. I've been wondering what all those tweets from Elvis and Beethoven were about- loving the new duet guys.
For many guests the happy occasions of spending one afternoon per month having tea with a group of older guests and volunteers, are the only cross on the calendar. Contact the Elderly would like to draw public attention to what complete isolation feels like and what people can do to help solve the problem.