Dame Judi Dench has a big message for society on ageing...

Dame Judi Dench is a powerful woman. She’s not loud, she’s not aggressive, she’s not someone at the forefront of our minds every day. But when she speaks, a lot of people all around the world listen and this week she had a very powerful message for society.

The following was taken from an interview between Stephen Witty and Judi Dench for online publication NJ.com, just last week.

Q: I think the loveliest thing about the “Marigold” movies is the change they provide. We don’t get to see many films with older people, and when we do they’re rarely central to the plot. They’re just a single character brought on for a quick joke.
A: Yes, and here you get all the characters and all the jokes in one place! But yes, the films are great fun. And this one was very unexpected – I don’t think any of us thought there would be a sequel. We did the first film, and that was lovely to do, going to India, that was wonderful — but then suddenly we had this glorious opportunity go again. And yes, you’re quite right, it’s rare that you see a proper film made about older people.

Q: And when we do, it’s usually about their infirmities.
A: Yes, getting Alzheimer’s and going into homes and all that. Quite honestly I get rather up in arms about our society’s attitude towards old people which seems to be, “Well, putting them in homes, it’s expedient, people can’t always look after their parents,” and I understand that. But it seems a terrible thing to me to just put people in a room, no pets about, turn the television on — which most of them can’t see or hear anyway — and then leave them. Well, you do that, of course everything’s going to shut down! But these characters are having a go.

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Her words, “Quite honestly I get rather up in arms about our society’s attitude towards old people which seems to be, “Well, putting them in homes, it’s expedient, people can’t always look after their parents and I understand that. But it seems a terrible thing to me to just put people in a room, no pets about, turn the television on — which most of them can’t see or hear anyway — and then leave them. Well, you do that, of course everything’s going to shut down! But these characters are having a go.” are so powerful and voice what so many of us feel.

The attitude of society has to ageing is wrong. It is blatantly wrong. The average 20 year old thinks about a 60 year old and they immediately think of a 90 year old in a nursing home. We aren’t seen as the people who contribute to society, the people who have worked hard for many years, the people who helped to create the opportunities younger generations have today.

Once we are considered “old” we are put in facilities – not retirement living resorts and villages but “old people’s homes” and nursing homes. We’re not given the chance to age gracefully and enjoy the years we still have. This is why, as Judi says, a film with an older cast albeit a film about older people is such a rarity.

Judi put our feelings into two incredibly eloquent sentences. While she isn’t the loudest in the world, she’s one of the most powerful and we hope her message is heard by all.

Tell us, what do you think of Judi’s comments? Do you agree with her? Share your thoughts in the comments below…