Do you sometimes feel we ‘old timers’ are part of a forgotten race? You could create a list of them, which might read something like this:
- People of Atlantis
- People of Ancient Crete
- Pigmies of Central Africa
- Age Pensioners
Oh, we’re given token consideration, like a few free bus rides a year, cheap dental treatment, if you’re prepared to wait, and bulk billing at the doctors. But when it comes to the important things, Government and Local Councils just aren’t really interested. They forget, conveniently, that it is our hard work over the past fifty years or so, that created the conditions the majority of the population enjoy today. We, or our representatives at the time, were the master-minds behind the Welfare State. We were the generation that built affordable, decent houses filled with whatever mod-cons were available. We were even the generation that gave the world mass production of transistors, televisions, diesel-electric trains and computers.
Now obviously, I’m not trying to claim all these wonderful developments for myself, or for you personally, dear reader, but it was certainly people just like us who did, because they were lucky enough to have the right opportunities and to be in the right places at the right time, who produced the goods, and are no doubt suffering the same difficulties as us, right now!
To that end, I believe the Welfare State should be paying us pensions that keep us in reasonable comfort, with enough left over after buying food and lodgings to enjoy a few little pleasures, like going to the movies or the local pub – or even to squander a few bob on the horses, should we so desire! And it’s all very well to have a nice home with all mod cons, but how about making it rates-free once you become a pensioner? After all, the ambulance service manage to do it don’t they – their use is free when you pass sixty five. And the same with computers and televisions – honestly, what would it really cost to give us all a computer and a television each?
I have the good fortune to be happily married, healthy, (both the wife and me!), and with three fifty-odd years old kids, who still love us despite everything, as well as a nice home that was built before the ‘mod-con’ era, but is warm dry and comfortable. So we have little to complain about, apart from the fact that we wish, as a lot of people must, that we’d saved more when I was working!
But it is those less fortunate than us that concern me. They often have either no family to help and support them, or they have fallen out with their kids, with the same result. And how many of them earned enough during their working lives, to be able to make adequate preparation for their declining years? Don’t forget, you could buy a house in those days, for less than the cost of a top-of-the-line pushbike now. So even those who did manage to save, find the “large” sums they put away fifty years ago, are now worth next to nothing. For them there is no real authority to provide the help they so desperately need.
Sure, there are ministers and bureaucrats at all levels of government, supposed to be dealing with the needs of the elderly, but how often do you read in the papers about the dreadful way old people in some nursing homes are often treated – what were the Ministers and the bureaucrats doing while all that was going on?
I don’t claim to be very bright, but it does seem to be pretty obvious, even to me, that the elderly deserve to be treated better. And don’t forget, because of all the great things produced by people from our age group, all those years ago, we’re living longer, so there are now more and more of us, and our weight and our power is increasing, day by day!
It may not be too long before we are able to exert real power ourselves – then those running the country may wish they’d put us higher on that list than the Aztecs and the Pigmies!
Be afraid, future Governments – be very afraid!