In the five years that I have been writing this blog, I have routinely scanned the news media and the internet for information about ageing and older people issues. There is a torrent of information out there, but when you specifically add the rider that it must be about old people, the elderly or seniors, what you get back is overwhelming concerned with just a few central themes which are common to all countries:-
Demographic Time Bomb:-
The rising tide of older people is a worldwide phenomenon as we all live longer.
The spiralling cost of healthcare as a consequence of greater longevity and improved medical techniques.
Insufficient funds set aside by the state and individuals to cover the cost of later life, particularly health care
Inadequate Care Provision:-
Both in the public and private sectors and by many absent relatives.
The responses to this situation on a national and global scale are at best, strategically very weak and at worst, border on panic measures. National strategies, in the main, seem to be defensive, for instance, postponing retirement age or denying some treatments/drugs to older people. The panic measures include legalising assisted suicide.
This all makes for a very gloomy outlook and sure enough this is reflected in the information and news media. The residual image is of older people as a burden on society.
GrumbleSmiles is about turning around that perception into something much more positive and I am sure that there are many people and organisations out there trying to do the same thing. It’s just not that obvious from the exposure they get in a media that focuses more easily on negative things.
Over the next month I am going to turn my attention to trying to find websites that present positive images of ageing. I know from past experience of the internet that this will not be easy. There’s plenty of information out there about medical conditions and there is a huge amount of research into the “problem of ageing”. There’s also lots of stereo typical images of old people falling over or being made fun of.
I intend to find things that are much more positive and I will publish them as a succession of follow up blogs to this post.