when we dead awaken paper
Why we need to be better at ageing…Julia Neuberger addresses the question of what life will actually be like for us as we get old, and suggests answers for making our later years as good as when we were young.Britain is getting old – and fast. Due to the combination of a decline in birth rates and an increase in life expectancy we are rapidly heading towards a crisis – in health, housing, finance and long-term care.Despite this seismic shift in our demographic makeup, the way we view and treat the old has barely adjusted. It is shocking, for example, that despite less than 1 in 20 British people wanting to reside in a care home in their old age, 1 in 5 die in one.It is time that we examined how we look after ourselves as we age – and address the issues that when young we take for granted as a right, not a privilege.• Why is housing not being built so that the less mobile amongst us can continue to look after ourselves for longer?• Why when we have so much experience and no less intelligence are we not able to find work which benefits everyone?• What are we supposed to do for fun? There must be more to life than bingo and bowls!• Why is our approach to care so poor? If we neglect carers, will they not neglect us?The opportunity to make life better as we age is being missed, but not necessarily because the solutions are so difficult… Are we even asking ourselves the obvious questions?How I want to grow old is a call to arms – a manifesto on age that aims to change the way we think and to galvanise ourselves into action.