Ready for ageing? The House of Lords Report looks at this question with three audiences in mind – us the individual, the markets and governments. In that light naturally, this conversation gets wide sweeping attention, but in the well blocked 18 Annex sections of this UK report, it’s an easy to read practical discussion framework.
Bravo. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. I wonder how many people in the “high streets or hamlets” of England are reading the Annex 6 comments about us the individual? Here, it’s easy to see that our own attitudes, perceptions and expectations are built around 20th century narratives of ageing and a “life course”. How often do we think in those conceptual terms? As the report says in point 110:
“…individuals can never know exactly how long they are going to live, and because people are naturally ill-disposed to thinking about getting older, part of people’s failure to prepare for older age derives from simple human nature.”
So what then of the expectations? Even if we’re projecting all the positives of our active ageing, or in denial; we carry around like heavy luggage, issues of managing current personal debt load, working longer to afford paying for our extended lifetimes or even coping with the caring our aging elders.
Have we got the time or inclination to be thinking about 2030? Standing still or moving, we made it through Toffler’s 1970’s Future Shock. Ready for ageing shock – “a super-gerontological society”, who isn’t?