Aging thoughts / blogspot by Brian Worsfold

  • The elderly must be helped to help themselves.
  • Ageing is a learning process.
  • As the aging process progresses, another process kicks in which leads to an indefinitely-sustained lack of consciousness, something we call "death." 
  • More and more people are living longer and better than ever before.
  • To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, "Never before, in the history of human aging, have so many lived so well for so long."
  • Everything, animate and inanimate alike, is aging through time at the same rate, at the same rhythm. The difference for us human-beings is that we are conscious of it. Human aging is a matter of CONSCIOUSNESS.
  • The secret quality of aging: it's not a question of spending more time doing things you like doing; it's a question of spending less time doing things you don't like doing. 
  • As you grow older, you become more deeply conscious of every move you make. This is true, especially, when your body is below par. This increased, petty-consciousness causes you to think you are taking longer to do the simplest things.
  • Smart supermarket shopping - Using a smart shopping app, mobile phones can be used to undertake easier shopping in 'smart supermarkets." Using a smart mobile phone, the smart shopping app. will equip the phone with a bar code scanner, a product listing facility, a calculating facility, and a payment facility. It will also be linked to a credit card account to enable connectless, direct debiting. The phone will have a GPS positioner that will enable the selection of the smart supermarket in which the shopping is taking place. Using his/her smart mobile phone, once in the smart supermarket, the customer will select the name and location of the supermarket and register him-/herself as an active customer. On selecting a product from the shelf, the customer will use the phone to scan the barcode on the product before placing the product in the shopping trolley/basket. The name of the product will be added to the phone's shopping list, together with the price. Once all products required have been selected, scanned and placed in the trolley/basket, the customer will proceed to the payment point where he/she will place his/her mobile phone in front of the till/cash reader. The total amount displayed on the customer's shopping list will be debited from his/her account, and the corresponding stock adjustments made for the supermarket. The customer can then leave the smart supermarket with his/her purchases and will be automatically logged out of the smart supermarket as he/she passes through the exit doors.   
  • Intergenerational school activity - "The local Alzheimer's association, in agreement with a nursery/kindergarten, undertook a joint activity whereby the agers prepared a puppet show and the children prepared some songs. Then agers and children came together to perform the puppet show and sing the songs. Everyone enjoyed this a lot."
  • Intergenerational school activity - "Every morning the children take a piece of fruit for breakfast and, once in school, a group of grandparents who have volunteered to participate, join the children, in the company of one teacher, and together they prepare bowls of mixed fruit and later, this macedonia is given to the children for their breakfast. In tis way, the children interact with a group of agers." 
  • Showers with body drier - why not dry off inside the shower instead of clambering out into the cold bathroom and fumbling around for a towel? The solution may be a built-in body drier. See < >, <>, and watch the video <>
  • Fashion/clothing - pulling on socks may be troublesome, but the Dorking stock and stocking dresser may solve a daily hassle. Watch the video on YouTube <>
  • Fashion/clothing - efforts should be made to design men's headware (hats) that cover, optionally, the ears and the back of the neck and that looks 'cool.' 
  • Fashion/clothing - men's braces should be designed with buttonholes to allow fixing, with two buttons, one each on the two shoulders of the shirt, so that the ends of the braces attached to the trousers, both front and back, can be easily done up and undone, thereby allowing trousers to be lowered and pulled up without the need for removing upper clothing. 
  • Fashion/clothing - all men's shirts should be made with a wide and deep top pocket for containing wallets which are becoming increasingly thicker with bank cards etc.
  • New technologies help agers in Japan -
  • Democratic parliaments should create a Ministry of Ager Affairs for their states. "Social Security" tax deductions in Well-fare States should be clearly compartmentalisd, that is, not all put into a common 'pot,' and should be allocated to the following 'pillars': Pensions; Education; Health Services; Ager Services; Children (<16); Young People (<30) ...
  • Terminology - the terms "ager" and "agers" to be used instead of "the elderly," "old people,"  and "seniors," etc. The term "super-agers" is used in the Northwestern University SuperAging TM Study. Variations on the term such as "early-ager" and "late-ager" may also prove useful.
  • It should be made obligatory for all Arrivals/Departures monitors in airport check-in halls, train stations, bus stations etc. to be 42" at least, with large font text, and set at eye-level, i.e. between one and two metres high. An acoustic alternative should be made available for persons with impaired vision.
  • All Art aspires to order Chaos. "Rules create order, and without order is no creativity." (A.S. Byatt Babel Tower 186)  Without creativity there is no order.
  • The terms "unemployed," "out of work," and "on the dole," etc, like the terms "old folk," old hag," "old codger," "old biddy," "old crone," "old buffer," "has-been," etc,. must be replaced or simply eliminated, because they cause stigmas and marginalisation for a far-too-large and growing segment of the population.
  • A post-feminist thought ... sexualities and the gender mix. Is sexual orientation replacing, or at least overtaking, gender (woman/man; female/male) as a criteria in the gender mix? Soon it may not be a question of how many men and how many women make up a parliament or the board of executives of a company, for example, but rather how many heterosexuals, how many homosexuals, how many androgynes, and how many "undifferentiated sexualities" make up the "mix." (N.B. "Undifferentiated sexualities" is one of the four sexuality categories identified by Sandra Bem . The Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI) (1977) classifies individuals as having one of four gender role orientations: masculine, feminine, androgynous, or undifferentiated.)
  • Is there a growing need for a "Generation Tax"? An institutionalised channel must be established for the formal, legal transfer of wealth of the well-off individuals from the older generation (70+) to less well-off individuals of the younger generation (30-50). 
  • Causes of aging graphic:
  • Causes of aging revealed:
  • Retirement is bad for your health:
  • What impact will a large and growing over-60s electorate have on modern democracies? Given the growing political power (as voters) and proportional wealth of the over 60s population, should there be an upper limit on the age to vote, for example, 80 years old?
  • Alternatively, given the growing political power (as voters) and proportional wealth of the over 60s population, should there be two 'Houses' - one in which representatives (MPs) are elected by voters between the ages of 18 and 59, and another in which representatives (MPs) are elected by voters between the ages of 60 and over. A national democratic government could then be formed by a selection (50% / 50%) of elected members (MPs) from both Houses.
  • Terminology - new terms required for 'pensioner'; 'retirement' / 'retired person'; 'clases pasivas'; 'jubilat/da';  'senior' - (hierachical). Such labels are exclusive and stigmatise. When 40% of the adult population is over 60, referential terminology should not be rooted in differences in terms of source(s) of income. 
  • Retirement should not involve a rite de passage (séparation-transition-reincorporation).; should not be marked by ritualised ceremonies - a big production - like celebratory meals and gift-giving. Reaching pensioner status is not equivalent to one's baptism, one's wedding, or one's funeral. As the demographics of the elderly increases exponentially, reaching pensionable age and acquiring pensioner status should be progressively demystified. It is no more exceptional, no longer a big deal!
  • Mini-jobs are also for pensioners who can supplement their pensions by keeping active and productive. The elderly can be especially productive in the service and maintenance industries, and in activities relating to the preservation and integrity of the environment.
  • All seating, both at home (sofas, settees, armchairs, chairs, etc.) and in public spaces (park benches, waiting rooms, service areas, etc.) should be designed with the seat surface at least 50cm, preferably 55-60cm, off the ground.
  • All seats in all forms of transport (cars, buses, trains, planes, taxis, coaches, etc.) should be designed with the seat surface at least 50cm, preferably 55-60cm, off the floor.  
  • In the supermarket, we load up the trolley, then we unload the trolley (at the cash desk) and load up the cash desk conveyor belt , then we unload the cash desk conveyor belt and load up the trolley (at the cash desk) then we unload the trolley and load up the boot of the car,  then, once home, we unload the car boot and load up the pantry/larder/freezer/refrigerator. To sum up, we load up 4 times and we unload 4 times every time we buy goods at the supermarket. Technology should be applied so that the amount of loading and unloading is cut by at least 50%.
  • The car boot should be designed as a compartment for carrying supermarket purchases, not suticases. 
  • Pan-Euope aim - to harmonise the deal for the elderly across the European Union.
  • Pan-Europe aim - equal rights, equal respect, equal social status for all elderly residents.
  • In the design of all two+ storey dwellings, the architect must first decide where the lift will go.
  • Three golden rules for architects: 1. no steps; 2. no steps; 3. no steps.
  • For centuries, the home was built around the chimney piece and the fireplace - the hearth. From now onwards, it must be built around the lift - the elevator.
  • Like people on national assistance (in the UK), as time goes by the elderly need more (financial) resources, not fewer.
  • Given the 'longevity revolution,' modern welfare states have two options: either to begin individual contributions to the state pension scheme from birth, as a birthright, or do away with the concept of state pension scheme altogether.
  • In order to sustain Welfare States economically, individual  contributions (to housing, national health services, state education and national pension schemes) must be founded on a principle of 'variable geometry,' whereby contributions and payments are calculated and allocated taking into account individual age and status.
  • Like the GP (General Practitioner) or family doctor, there should be a GC (General Carer), a carer responsible for all persons over 60 registered in his/her 'surgery.'. 
  • "No taxation without representation" - Just as, in a democratic state, all persons resident in that state who pay taxes to that state must have the right to vote for the elected government of that state, so, too, in a democratic state, all persons resident in that state who receive a pension from that state must have the right to vote for the elected government of that state.
  • The 'longevity revolution' has come about due to the confluence of increasing longevity with the demographic 'baby-boomer' bulge


WAM manifesto
Colleagues working together as part of WAM’s collaborative research group demand that:

  1. The academy and the public sector recognize, address, challenge and refuse misogyny directed at older women in the media and public life.
  2. The media should aspire to more diversity in representations of old age than the dominant consumerist notions of ageing for women in public currently do.
  3. Issues of class race, non-normative sexualities and materiality need to be recognized and responded to in relation to older women, both in academic work on representation and in public policy.
  4. Older women need to be at the centre of debates to discuss their own identities, their own lives and the policies governing them.
  5. Ageing studies need to produce research that explores intergenerationality as a means for old and young to work together in their diversities to produce real world outcomes and incremental change.
  6. Research on women, ageing and media should be recognized as a form of activism that strives to empower women and older women in particular, by demanding that a wider range of older women should be more visible in all areas of the media and media representation.

(Launched at the New Dynamics of Ageing event, Ageism and Sexism in the Media, London13th November 2012)
Dr Ros Jennings, Director of the Research Centre for Women, Ageing and Media (WAM), November 2012


Last modified: 23/06/2018
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