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Invisable at 70. Burden at 75


Brenda Fricker, the Oscar winning actress, has written about how we become invisible at 70. Forgotten, not considered for parts, jobs, interviews etc. As if we no longer exist.

That may be bad enough, but once we hit 75, it gets worse. We become, overnight, a burden.. The American writer Irma Bombeck wrote amusingly about how she went to bed with a beautiful ,graceful neck, but awoke to find that someone had stolen her unblemished neck and left a wrinkled,, mottled neck instead. How did that happen? How can it be important.? Who is checking out necks?

We live in a very strange era. The only way that the next generation is going to hit any money is to inherit.. Whatever way the system is set up now, they find it impossible to save. They are not savers. Not for bits of string, an unused envelope, Christmas wrapping paper, ( I have been using the same wrapping paper, bags and boxes for years, ) or even simple savings. We started saving with our Communion money. I think mine was 7/6 which in today's money is about 40 cents. . I had an account in a Building society at 10.. So we studied. It took 5 years to do the Leaving back then. Took a 3 year degree . In College, if referring to someone , we would say, You know the fellow, the one with the blue jumper.? That was his best jumper and the one he always wore. . Because we did not have wardrobes of clothes, We had maybe 3 jumpers, 3 pairs of trousers, a couple of shirts., underwear.

On graduating, at 21, we were let loose on a world that did not want to know us ,. Many of us emigrated, found jobs, gained experience, maybe even took another couple of qualifications and at 23 I got married. Used the savings in the Building society , plus a hefty over draft from the bank and built a house. No furniture, except bits and pieces of donated ,miscellaneous furniture, including some very pretty antique furniture and an orange box, turned on its side, painted, with green garden furniture paint, which served as a bedside table for many years.. Mind you, on top was a lovely antique lamp, which I still have,

In that house, we had some terrific parties. No problems with spilled beer or wine. The floors were concrete with a few rugs thrown around. Little by little, room by room, we carpeted, the floors, installed a modern kitchen, bought some comfortable beds, curtails, paid off the over draft, and we were away. ;

The point I am making is that we were not extravagant.

We went to work., During my over 40 years of work, I never took a day off sick. I did take a few days off for bereavement, maternity leave and professional training., Even the day of my divorce, I went into school and taught a few classes before setting off for the Four Courts.

And then we retired. Getting There was set up in response to my experience of Retirement, It was very cut and dried. As it turned out, there had been very little planning by government and there is still a shortage of teachers. But given how we were treated, many of us chose not to return to the classroom.

A very interesting situation has arisen in South Korea. There is a shortage of doctors, so the government decided to up the number of places to study Medicine by 2000. Sounds logical?

Well, total outrage by the existing doctors whose main argument seems to be that there is already cut throat competition to land the lucrative positions in the cosmetic industry and consultants in prestigious hospitals. They refuse to acknowledge that the shortages exist in GPs surgeries, Accident and Emergency Departments and Research.. Looking after the general health of the population , especially preventative medicine, is obviously not attractive enough. .

At the time of writing this, the striking Junior doctors had been ordered back to work under threat of having their license to practice revoked.

My argument in this is that the amount of points needed to study Medicine, Vet, ,Dentistry, Physio, Psychology is far too high. Many a fantastic doctor, vet, dentist or psychologist got very average marks in the Leaving but went on to become highly respected and competent and to develop a huge interest and commitment to their chosen career.

And not to the tough bit. Becoming a burden. We come from a generation that while we were happy to get out and demonstrate for Civil Rights for others, we have been very undemanding. personally. It is therefore with horror that we learn, that Government departments, and certain sectors of society consider our natural ageing process as some sort of dreadful scourge on society. How dare we get pensions and then continue to live healthy lives? How dare we continue to live in our 4 bedroom houses,( which were the norm 50 years ago ). Some of my friends down-sized to ;modern' city apartments, only to find themselves living with a continously changing population of renters of various nationalities, who started the day from 5 o'clock onwards, running showers and washing machines, banging doors, for it all to fall silent at 7:30, only to restart again at 17h and continue up to midnight, The walls were thin, The neighbours kept changing. . How they missed their lovely house, in the suburbs, where they knew everyone. .

We are all terrified of hospital, especially when we witnessed how appallingly older people were treated during Covid. . The Government have started speaking at their concern at the amount of money lying 'dormant' in our accounts,. Well, of course it is, because the Banks have not been paying any sort of decent interest since the crash. Why keep it in an account, for 10 years which pays 57 euro in interest a year. Best to keep it in the current account , where we can withdraw it immediately if needs be. so, then they are upping how much it will cost to stay in a very mediocre Nursing home. Studies now reveal an increasing amount of exploitation of older people by both staff and family members..

So, we need to think carefully as we consider our declining years. We need to be strong and proactive.

1 Comment

Sadly your words ring so true....

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