February 22, 2012 Leave a comment
June 16, 2011 Leave a comment
Cheering news that a seventy-two-year-old woman, Frances Tennant, has recently completed the 1,200-mile trek from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in Scotland, making her the oldest female ever to be officially recorded as having walked the length of Britain.
Once she had finished the walk, she even found enough energy to climb theUK’s highest mountain,Ben Nevis, on her way back home.
Mrs Tennant, who has completed the Great North Run 18 times, was accompanied by her friend Rupert Booth, who at 60 is himself a pretty impressive performer. The pair achieved an average of 17 miles a day, taking about three months to complete the walk. Initially they had intended to do it purely for fun, but then decided to make it a charity trek raising money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
At the end of her journey Mrs Tennant was reported as saying “We had an absolutely fantastic time. It has been wonderful”.
On days when all we seem to hear about is the bad news side of ageing – pension problems, care costs, Alzheimer’s, and worse – it’s great to have such a good news story. Everyone over 50 should be encouraged to print it off and stick it on the fridge door as a constant reminder of what is possible in later life and the joy that can come from realizing one’s dreams and ambitions.
June 9, 2011 Leave a comment
“Eagles may soar but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines”
The trickle is turning into a flood. Almost daily now we are seeing more and more issues pile up which, on the whole, are not being tackled head-on or are being addressed with a “sticking plaster” approach. We are talking here about education costs, housing, employment, pensions, health costs, care costs and increasing life expectancy – and there are probably others too.
We are fast approaching the time when we must acknowledge the need for a complete paradigm shift. A new conceptual framework is required to cope with the new realities together with a dismantling of old structures, old ideas and old platforms underpinning our life course aspirations and actions.
There are some who don’t yet see this is happening. There are many institutions for which this will not make good reading and which have vested interests in preserving the status quo and so are side stepping it. And there are the myriad issues for government in managing the various pressures in an acceptable, palatable and understandable way. But the overall course of events is in one direction only.
There is much more to be written and discussed but, in the meantime, what can we do on an individual basis to ensure that we can achieve as much as possible and still remain with our heads above water in financial terms?
We offer the WEASEL way.
Act earlier and save more
Stay fit and healthy
Enjoy life at each stage
“Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get”
December 22, 2010 Leave a comment
A recent survey of the nation’s worries by the Samaritans organization shows that over half (52%) of the older generation (aged 55 plus) fear they will not have enough money to live comfortably next year, with 59% worried about suffering directly from cuts in public spending.
The YouGov poll of more than 2,000 people identified money (debt and bank balance) as one of the older generation’s biggest concerns of the past year with nearly half (45%) saying it was one of their top-five worries of 2010, compared with 41 per cent in 2009. Fair enough, except for the fact that, yet again, a survey which segments all other age groups into ten year bands just lumps all over 55s in together. It doesn’t take much of a leap of imagination to think that a 55 year old might have different worries than an 85 year old, so it’s a bit difficult to know exactly what sort of people might have these worries.
Anyway, according to the research figures the other main sources of anxiety for older people during 2010 were physical health (46%), world affairs (40%), domestic politics (39%) and relationships with family and friends (30%). Apparently, retired people were the most likely to worry about domestic politics and world affairs compared to the national average of 28% per cent and 26% respectively and the most likely (28%) of all age groups to seek help from their GP to cope with their worries, compared to only 9% of 25- to 34-year-olds.
Now while it’s understandable for older people to worry about money and health, there is no reason at all for us to waste time worrying about world affairs, or domestic politics and no excuse to go to the doctor about it. Okay, we might be concerned about what’s going on in the world but bearing in mind the difficulty of doing anything about it on an individual basis, there’s no point in worrying about it. The finding links the figures to the phrase “retired people” which intentionally or not, emphasises the fact that if we haven’t got enough to think about, we worry about things that really aren’t important. The message has to be that if you’re one of the worried well you need to get out more and get involved with things that really matter. If you aren’t able to, then at least don’t waste your energy on things you can’t change. With age, comes wisdom and resilience… doesn’t it?
A full national and regional breakdown of the 2010 survey can be found at:
March 17, 2009 Leave a comment
The more we study ageing the more it becomes apparent that what we know is less about fact and lived experience and more about perspective. The topic is researched, monitored and analysed from the economist’s perspective, the medical practitioner’s perspective, the historian’s perspective, the sociologist’s perspective, the psychologist’s perspective, the employer’s perspective - and many more. And often the information we are exposed to is what is reported upon from the journalist’s perspective, i.e. what makes a good story.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that and to accept what we read and hear as “fact”. Fact it may be in a particular arena but without a context the implication and importance of it all is debatable.
When interpreting the significance of trends on our own ageing selves we need to bear in mind that every rule will have its exceptions. For example, we may all be living longer overall but many will still die in “young” old age. What this means is that as individuals we need to cherry pick our own best case scenario and use that as our guiding perspective. After all, belief precedes action; if we believe that we will, individually, have a happy, secure and fulfilling old age then we have a better chance of making it so. Not by pure belief alone but by manoeuvring our own way through the forest of predictions and perspectives and choosing those actions which will help fulfil our own vision of the future.