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What are the challenges of ageing?

Share your views on what you think the challenges of ageing are in an online discussion.

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In June 2020 VOICE will be working with Alphabetti Theatre, a local theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne, to put on a professional theatre production around the theme of human ageing. 

The aim of this production is to create a play that uses the stories, insights and experiences of older people to create something that is honest and reflects what real people see as the challenges of ageing, to hopefully engage the public with these issues.

We will be looking for VOICE members to join a focus group to be part of the creative process to help develop the story of the play; but this online discussion is a place for everyone to put forward their ideas, and discuss the challenges of ageing.

The discussion will be open until Friday 22nd November.

What do you think are the main challenges of ageing?

What are the challenges of ageing? Discussion

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  • Ian Fairclough
    19th November 2019

    I think one of the main challenges of ageing is "understanding."

    Older people understanding the world around them - understanding how fast life is changing and how these changes affect them.

    Younger people understanding the older population and what is important to them.

    Earlier this year AGEUK put out a statement that "1.7 million pensioners are still living in poverty" - but they do not say what they mean by "poverty" - so how do I know if I am one of these unlucky pensioners - this is an example of "not understanding."

    The government doesn't understand older people - why should I be forced to have my state pension and benefits paid into a bank account instead of in cash, over the counter, at the Post Office using the card system?

    The card system is simple & ideal for older people - you cannot get into debt - there are no charges. It also has the benefits of allowing elderly people to "socialise" while they are out.

    The government & society are blind to the older generation - it is as if we do not exist in any meaningful way.

    Charlie  Wilkinson
    19th November 2019

    Hi Ian. Some great thoughts there, I think the idea of older people understand the changing world around them and young people understand the older population is a really interesting idea to explore. And I think you raise an important point about things changing but not fully being explained to those who are affected by the change, have you got any other examples of changes that maybe make things more difficult for the older generation that were designed to help initially?

    Ian Fairclough
    21st November 2019

    Freedom & Privacy - to the younger generation old people haven't been anywhere or done anything. We don't spread our personal lives over "social media." We do not "wear out hearts on our sleeves." We do not appear to be enjoying life Sometimes we are "invisible" to society.

    We/me/I find it difficult to understand the outpourings of emotion generated by the young - we tend to do things quietly and discretely and get personal, private, modest pleasure from what we achieve.

    This could because of, as Gwen says " losing flexibility and energy" means we have to conserve our "dwindling resources" for things which are important to us.

  • Gwen  Dawe
    18th November 2019

    One of the worst things to come to terms with is losing flexibility and energy. Instead of getting upset about what we can no longer do, we try to think positively about the things we are still able to do and enjoy. This can have the advantage of acquiring new hobbies.

    Charlie  Wilkinson
    19th November 2019

    Hi Gwen, I love this view of looking at things, I think it links really well with previous comments about people being defined by their career so feeling like they don't have a purpose post-retirement. Thinking positively about ageing is so important, do you have an examples of new hobbies you have seen people acquire during this time? Some of the common ones?

    Gwen  Dawe
    20th November 2019

    After many years of enjoying walking we started bird watching. This meant we could still enjoy being outdoors, but instead of constantly being on the move we can enjoy the countryside close up and learn a whole new skill. When forced to spend more time indoors MOOCS - Massive Open Online Courses - are a wonderful way of keeping your mind active and enjoying learning new subjects.

  • NU-food
    15th November 2019

    - Feeling of not having a purpose once retired as many people define themselves or are defined by their career

    - Fear of becoming senile or people saying that they are when they are not

    - Losing independence to do activities themselves

    - Isolation, loneliness

    Charlie  Wilkinson
    18th November 2019

    Hi Natasha, those are some really good points to consider. I would love to hear a bit more about your thoughts on these. For instance, Isolation and loneliness are a big issue, what do you think society should be doing to try and combat that problem?

    4th December 2019

    Being a younger person, talking to retired people, from what I understand, older citizens feel they are a burden on society, almost treated like the homeless seen as invisible because no-one even greets them when passing on the street.

    They worry about money running out as their parents worked until death so they are unable to gauge how much is needed for later social care, especially as elderly care is more complicated than when younger.

    They sit at home with not much to do worrying about their children and their childrens’ future.

    Living within a sensitive “woke” “snowflake” society, they are worried whether what they communicate will be mis-construed.

    Not having people around there is a lack of affection.

    Going out to the shops is often their only contact with another person so there is the pressure to spend money and also just communicating with robots via self-service checkouts.

    They are extremely experienced and intelligent people so it must be challenging being at home with terrible TV shows as entertainment as popular ones are reality TV so not much to discuss on a different level and also no-one to discuss current affairs with because many people are polarised today.

    Traditionally women stayed home for the older generation so they struggle to see their wives/partners being more social and they stay at home.

    To combat these issues above which lead to loneliness and isolation, the Amsterdam model of young professionals living within a care home setting and spending time per week with the elderly in exchange for cheaper rent, elderly people going to schools for lunchtime, Gateshead Peoples’ Assembly I think have the aim of being no more than 15 minutes walk to a community centre for activities ( The housing market structure may need to be assessed to make it more integrated with younger communities, there shouldn’t be activities just for older people as then you get groupthink and also because many of them don’t have grandchildren yet it is healthy if they communicate with younger people to keep a range of perspectives and for younger people to have empathy.

    I don’t know your research or objectives, older generations are typically more Conservative and so you should be weary not to take too much of a left-wing liberal approach which can often be a bias within universities, if this does not sit easily with the older generation.

  • Violet  Rook
    15th November 2019

    Stereotyping and Ageism.

    Charlie  Wilkinson
    18th November 2019

    Hi Violet, thanks for commenting. That's a really interesting area to consider, I have my own personal stories of watching my family deal with ageism especially in the workplace so I know what you mean! Can you give any examples of what you might mean by stereotypes, or some of the worst offenders to consider?

    Violet  Rook
    2 days ago

    Unfortunately we are the Algorithm society. Everyone is classified in regard to a consumer model at times. I enjoy computers, but see this extension of computing and modelling applied to individuals. and find it disturbing. It also applies to every age range.The "each individual is different" seems to be a phrase which is ignored.