Category: Age

A Long Life Means a Huge Bucket List

January 9, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

It’s a fact. We’re all living longer and populations around the world are ageing. Some more gracefully than others.
At the end of 2009 the UK office for National Statistics reported that the proportion of the UK population aged under 16 had dropped from 25% in 1971 to around 19% in 2008. In parallel with this the proportion aged 65 and over increased from 13% in 1971 to 16% in 2008. It is anticipated that this trend will continue and by 2031 22% of the UK population will be aged over 65.

In the United States there are now more people aged 65 and over than ever before. In 1900 there were 3.1 million Americans in that age group and by April 2010 this had increased to 40.3 million. And as more baby boomers reach their 65th birthdays it is anticipated that this number will increase more rapidly.

Life expectancy is increasing and many of us can expect to live into our eighties, nineties and even beyond 100. Not only are we living longer, we are staying fitter and healthier into our old age. But some see an ageing population as a potential burden on society. They are worried that the proportion of the population of working age will dwindle making it tough to maintain living standards for the dependent older population.

The answer must be revision of the way in which we retire. Instead of ceasing to work at 65 we’ll need to consider a more flexible, gradual retirement process, perhaps opting for part time work or consultancy roles in order to provide the benefit of a lifetime’s work experience.

I for one don’t want to completely stop working as I enjoy the stimulation that my work provides. It has been found that keeping the brain active can help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease which is enough for me to keep working until I drop.

My plan is to get old disgracefully. As I’ve matured I’ve become increasingly less likely to become embarrassed and much more confident. For example, my singing skills are abysmal but I love to do it so I recently took to the stage at a local talent night. I picked one of my all time favourites (Great Balls of Fire) and tormented the assembled audience to my rendition of this timeless classic. The lovely people in the audience all clapped politely but it was suggested that I shouldn’t give up my day job any time soon.

So I am now compiling what is quickly becoming a very long ‘bucket list’ of other things that I would like to do before I finally shuffle off this mortal coil. Fortunately for other people there are very few singing performances in the list although I have always wanted to ride through Brighton naked while singing God Save the Queen through a megaphone, but I shall put that one at the bottom of the list.