What everyone needs to know about being over 60, by an over 60 142



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In a country where the population is ageing rapidly, we seem to have a problem. No one wants to acknowledge the fact. Australia’s over 65s are growing at a rate of nearly four per cent yearly, but who cares it seems.

Let’s start with the government. We are labelled as “senior”. I am happy with that if you define senior. In the dictionary it says “a person who is a specified number of years older than someone else”. It also says “of or for more experienced people”. It does not say that once you turn 60 you are now too old to do anything or your brain is addled or you can’t learn or be just as useful as a 40 year old. It does not say put someone in their 60s in the too hard basket. But still the government is like a double-sided penny. On one side they say we are old, senior citizens and as such they treat us as though we need things spelled out to us slowly and explained to us as though we are children or at least need help understanding.  On he other side of the penny, they tell us we are too young to retire, that more of us should be looking for work, and yes, we could get jobs and stop being leaners. We shouldn’t want to live off the government. Make up your mind please and guess what?  We are not too old to know when you are trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Do you want us to retire?Do you want us to work till we are 70? I think what you want is for us to fade in to the background. This is not going to happen. You, the government of this country – MY country, need to start to do your job and represent ALL of us. You need to realise that our brains are not addled and we are just as useful as any other person in this country and before long we will be the majority!

At 62, with a chronic illness, I can still outdo most of the young people I know when it comes to work. I may not be able to do heavy physical work, but my brain is still in great shape. I can think and feel and see and do most everything a young person can. Most 60-something people I know can. While working a full time job (2014), I had several young people tell me they could never work 40 hours, that was way too much. This country was built on 40, 50 or 60 hour weeks. Have you forgotten? Guess what, it was us, the over 60s who did this.

Then we need to educate our children and our grandchildren. They need to stop hearing the phrase “over 60s” or elderly or senior citizens when referring to their parents and grandparents. They need to know that they don’t have to treat us as though we are all too old to understand or be condescending when we ask a question or put us in a corner and forget about us because we are too hard to deal with. We are not! It is a well known fact that we have mastered social media, something that the “young” thought was just for them. We also do very well going to university at an older age. We are the ones that have taught them everything, even if they don’t realise it. We are the ones they need to remember so they can pass down what they have learned. It is called life. Our children and grandchildren need to stand up to the government and fight for our rights, because one day they will be fighting the same fight for themselves. 

We, as the fastest ageing population in this country need to tell the world we don’t automatically get ill because we are over 60. Yes, some of us do, but so do some 20, or 30 or 40 year olds. There are some that won’t be able to work and some that will be able to work only in certain jobs. But that’s the same for any age! We need to put pressure on the government to enforce the fact that you cannot refuse a person work because he or she is over 60 and you can’t use other excuses to cover it when we all know this is what’s happening. In over 90 percent of cases, Fair Work will tell you it’s too hard to prove age discrimination. I say it’s just too hard for them. Heaven help us all if we start to think everything is too hard, make the effort. We are worth it. 

Finally, we as the fastest growing ageing population in this country need to take a stand and stop letting THEM try to make you believe you are old. We need to stop acting old, even if it is easier when you are dealing with a government department. Everyone is different. THEY need to start treating us as individuals. They need to understand that without us, they would have had very little.  If by chance we need to be on some sort of assistance, then we need to be treated with respect and dignity. Not treated like we don’t deserve anything. Mr Abbott, Mr Hockey and Mr Morrison, I pay the same for a loaf of bread as you do, so why do you want me to live on such a small benefit? Am I not entitled to live as well as you? Am I not entitled to live stress free and not worry how to pay to keep warm or eat? Is it not because of me and thousands like and before me that you are living well today?

We, the ageing population of this nation are many and growing by the day. It is time that we mattered to you and to all in this country. The people of Australia are quick to fight against racism and minorities. We are fast becoming a “majority” and shame on you Australia. Why aren’t you fighting against the prejudices shown in this country to the ageing population? We are the backbone of this country!

Are you with her or against her?

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Fran Spears

Born in 1953. Came to Hobart from the north west coast of Tassie to be closer to my son as I have mild chronic bronchitis. Mild and chronic in same sentence – even that makes me laugh. Have just completed and passed my diploma in Public Relations. Love to write and have lead a reasonably interesting life. My motto: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"

  1. Way too political! Should have been less specific re government. As I remember, no government of recent times has respected the older population!

    4 REPLY
    • Well Irene, that’s the point. I can only tell it as I see it with the government that is in office. I do believe it was the present government that labelled us “leaders”. If it was another party in power and these things were happening, then their names would be in the article, but yes, this is aimed at present government because they, at present, are not doing the right thing. However, I am and always have been a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Thank you for yours on my story. Have a great day.

    • NO Government is the past has shamelessly targeted Baby Boomers like this Government, they have gone across the whole spectrum, from the unemployed , to the disabled and to the pensioners, and not satisfied to just degrade us they have resorted to name calling, and never forget the poor don’t drive cars, so they think none of it matters..wrong !!

    • Of course it’s political, what else do you expect when the government controls us regardless of who is in power. This particular government just happens to be rather ruthless except for their own kind.

  2. Well said Fran, glad I read your message to the Australian people and politicians, life is great in our 60’s, we have worked hard to make this country the great place it is, l have worked full time since I was 16, I’m not asking for any thing I haven’t earned, a livable pension / income when I retire isn’t to much to expect, as you mentioned, we pay the same price for food, bills, petrol etc as everyone else.

  3. People need to get rid of the idea that there’s something wrong with being old and also the idea that we should stay “young at heart”. Age is just the number of years people have been around and older folk are often happier in old age than they were than they were younger. I believe that has a lot to do with the wisdom that old age brings …. the wisdom and peace, that is, that is found in an “old heart”.

  4. Well said, and pretty much sums up my sentiments as well. I’m living in New Zealand and it very much reflects what is written in Fran’s article.

  5. Very well written Fran, send that to the PM’s desk, this Liberal Government called us Leaners, we kept hearing over and over and so the did the rest of Australia, what a drain Boomers were on this country, they stigmatized us. They forgot to add that anyone over 50 years old can’t get work, and what are they doing about it? NOTHING

    3 REPLY
    • Actually,if you wanted to send this to the top,with a petition attached,I’d be the first to sign and support you,Fran.

    • how about the other oldies over 75 ones who are now the big problems???? told the other week by my dr that they would’nt do much for me if i got ill

  6. 65 is the new 35!

    3 REPLY
    • It can be whatever you want it to be just not the teen years – that years were for discovery at over sixty we are way past that we have experienced LIFE.

    • know your own capabilities, if you can do everything at 60 years old that you could at 35 years old fine but many have chronic pain through years of hard manual labor

    • @David James……. Agreed……those with chronic pain should not be expected to work. If it can be treated…… And someone wishes to work……. The knowledge they have gained can be passed on.

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