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When I'm 65: BBC's Ageing Season

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Ben Toone Ben Toone 09:40, Thursday, 5 July 2012

BBC Ageing Season: When I'm 65


If you're over 65, is it how you imagined? If you're under 65, how much do you think about being old?

Day to day I don't, but since working on the You and Yours Ageing Season called 'When I'm 65' I have realised that I'm actually rather apprehensive about being elderly. And my worst fears? Perhaps the thought of sitting in a chair all day, with a knitted blanket over my knees, eating liquidised roast chicken dinner, and possibly not knowing my own name.

Of course this is not the reality for most pensioners. According to Guy Robertson, in his paper 'Positive Ageing - from the political to the personal' only a quarter of people over 85 have dementia, whilst in the Republic of Ireland 90% of the care budget is spent on only 4.4% of the people over 65.

I'm not trying to belittle the devastating effect illness can have on the quality of some people's lives but I have realised there are many reasons to be cheerful. And if you consider that scientists, health professionals and the like have spent so much time and energy finding ways to increase life expectancy, (1/3 of babies born in 2012 are expected to survive to celebrate their 100th birthday according to recent report by the Office of National Statistics)- it seems churlish, at best, to be frightened of actually living that dream.

Here on You and Yours, Radio 4's consumer programme, we regularly examine key issues confronting older people. Disability and care are part of our core remit and our recent series on Adult Social Care looked in detail at the government's new policy white paper and what it might contain to improve things.

So we were a natural partner to collaborate with BBC One for the 'When I'm 65' Ageing Season.

We'll be speaking to Nick Hewer from the Apprentice about The Town That Never Retired - an experiment where 15 retirees in their seventies are sent back to work and 68 year old Birds of a Feather Actress Lesley Joseph will talk about the challenges of being a full time carer, after living with two pensioners Pat and Malcolm for the programme When I get Older.

We'll also be talking about Silver entrepreneurs, older people in Advertising with John Hegarty and visit a pioneering dementia village in Holland.

Do get in touch to share your thoughts on the positive aspects of ageing or send us a picture showing why you're glad to be over 65.

Karen Dalziel is a Producer on You and Yours which is broadcast weekdays at 12.04.


  • Comment number 1.

    We, husband Tam and I, spend a large part of our year on our barge "Friesland" cruising the waterways of mainland Europe.For part of that time we run a barge-handling school teaching people how to operate fairly large craft. Tam is 74 and I'm 70. In our barge-owners club of some 1500 members I guess 2/3rds are 60+. Quite a few are still cruising their barges - often in excess of 24 metres - well into their 80s.

    Perhaps barging keeps old age at bay. It is a steady, though not overly demanding, physical activity when on the move; there are new things to see and do every day to hold the interest; keeping in contact with family and friends by email keeps one content; having to use computerised equipment and other navigational aids and staying up-to-date with developments means having to stay mentally alert and leisurely expeditions to vineyards and open air markets selling local and seasonal produce wherever you happen to moor up for a day or two (see my ) keeps one's appetite alive.

    I think we are the unsung heroes - our way of life keeps us healthy and active for longer - it's a shame you can't get barging on 'the national health'.

  • Comment number 2.

    I am 66 years old so I feel able to post my comments here. There is one very obvious solution to the problem of degeneration in old age which is skated round in discussions.
    I share the oft expressed wish NOT to live in a mentally diminished condition. I have told my family this repeatedly.
    The problem that arises is that once an individual IS mentally incapacitated, for whatever reason, he/she is then not in a position to know their state or to be able to do anything about it.
    The solution is clear - legal voluntary euthanasia and a register of those who wish (as I do) to take that road.
    There would need to be safeguards of course - jobs for thousands administering such a system.
    However if such a scheme were in place many people would sign up to it while their minds were sound.
    So there it is, legislation is required but where are the politicians with the courage to face this issue head on?

  • Comment number 3.

    Wouldn't it be great if the over 65s were able to live longer, healthier and happier. Hampshire Health and Wellbeing have members who came up with the following ideas:

    Jane Bryan: My facials. All of my more elderly clients always say it is lovely to come to an "older" person who knows what they are talking about, seriously cares and doesnt treat them like a conveyer belt with one size fits all

    Ashley Mills: My Bates Method teacher is incredible, she says that getting slower and ill as we age is totally a state of mind. We can choose to be conditioned by the social influence or not. She is determined to be healthy, mentally agile and working when she is 100. I have to say I agree, my Nana's friend was jetting off to see her daughter in Vancouver, Canada every year into her 90's.

    In colour therapy terms nature is eternally colourful, so should human life be. We can harness all the energetic benefits from each colour of the spectrum to give us a boost in many areas of our lives, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

    Lynn Rich: Well we know that age is just a number and a state of mind!!
    I would encourage my clients to focus on the fact they had done a great job in getting their physical bodies thus far and how they are vibrational beings who never actually 'croak' anyway, they simply return to non physical so enjoy every moment in the safe knowledge that all is always very well))

    Maria-Clare Lush: Well looking at the other side of things, With my Soul Midwifery, I could have them prepare for the final transition, also with my healing would help bring comfort.

    Corrine Thomas: agree that a lot of it is a mindset issue. I would work with people to help them keep direction in their lives by discovering new things to learn and enjoy, plus live in the moment and enjoy every day they are blessed with. Life is precious and there to be enjoyed to the full.

    Patricia Lopez This is where yoga can take anyone........and latin dance!!!

    Abigail Goodland: guess for me the secret to happiness and fulfillment at any age is living in the now, seizing every moment and keeping a keen fresh and open mind. Prevents being bogged down by ill fitting norms and conventions. It really works - all that laughing and having fun. And seriously - who tells an old person off. That's just wrong.

    Anne Toase: A lot of people that come to my classes are in this age group! people who have always wanted to paint, had full time careers, family commitments and other things they have allowed to get in the way of their creative interests. The joy of allowing that to be revealed and the confidence that grows in them is so rewarding and a source of wonder to me.

    Watch this post for further help and ideas.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am 69. I am still working as a freelance copy editor/proofreader in book publishing. I have been doing this for thirty years and I am busier than ever. The important phrase is 'still working'. I felt the programme started from the wrong premise. The situation in the future is that people will have to work for longer, not take a break and then go back to work. I think the programme should have looked at those still working to see how they were coping. The strength I can offer is the knowledge I have built up from the approximately 1,400 books I have worked on. I also think by working I keep my brain active. Remember: use it or lose it. Another thought: the majority of those over 70 will have finished education at 15, therefore those who retire in the future will not necessarily have worked for more years

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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