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Preparing For The Age Of A Senior Citizen?

by Tony Kelly
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Preparing for the age of a senior citizen? A friend of mine, Patsy Mair suggested that I write an article on the aforementioned topic. Some of my regular followers/readers might recall one last year on retirement so this has a similar vein but with variations. This topic ties in well as last week I received a WhatsApp message from her which reads ‘The youth may walk fast but it’s the elders who know the road’. Put another way, ‘New brooms sweep clean but old brooms know the corners’. When does one in reality start preparing for so-called old age?

Some often say age is just a number so who has the right to define when someone is old and how to prepare for it? One is as old as one feels and one should not discriminate against the older generation as they have their rightful place in society even if they are in their twilight years having contributed immensely over a long period of time. Words or phrases used to describe that particular age group are, old age pensioners, golden agers or senior citizens. Some of us will recall with due respect to one’s parents our favourite family member was usually our grandmother or grandfather and that was because they were wiser and more experienced in so many ways.

Listed here are the names for various age groups. Quadragenarian (forties) Quinquagenarian (fifties) Sexagenarian (sixties) Septuagenarian (seventies) Octogenarian (eighties) Nonagenarian (nineties) Centenarian (hundreds) The Bible mentions a life span of three score and ten equating to seventy years but with the advent of technology, better quality of life including diet and physical activity along with several diseases having been eradicated over time, people on the whole are living much longer in the 21st century.

We cannot forget the advances in conventional medicine and one must also never underestimate the healing powers of herbal remedies which have cured many an ailment or medical condition for centuries. Methusaleh the oldest man according to the Bible lived to the age of 969 years. Whilst Sarah as the oldest woman is reputed to have lived 127 years. It is not for me to dispute their ages but mention them as the Biblical source of information.

Age UK formerly Age Concern UK a well-established charity in Britain has a free advice line 0800 678 1602 which is open 8.00 am – 7.00 pm that caters for the elderly providing services and support at a national and local level to inspire, enable and assist older people. For those who are not averse to modern technology the website is www.ageuk.org.uk Of course, there are other clubs, charities, societies and organizations which do a similar role/function for the elderly on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Within the black African and Caribbean communities in Britain there are many voluntary groups in places of worship, day/community centres, residential care/nursing homes and elsewhere who do a sterling job often voluntary seeing to the needs of the older generation who at one stage of their life were the backbone of society.

I recall seeing a wonderful multi-award-winning documentary a few years ago on Channel 4 called ‘Old People’s Home For Four Year Olds’ where a group of older adults living alone join a group of lively 4 year olds in an intergenerational play school for learning, connection and friendship. It was a joy to watch with featured expert input for the series by my friend Jamaican born Dr. Melrose Stewart, MBE, a chartered physiotherapist and now a retired Birmingham University lecturer.

If only more of that cross divide could take place now as the older generation have so much wisdom, forethought, insight, presence of mind and knowledge that could be passed on to the younger generation as they have ‘seen it, done it and worn the ‘t’ shirt’ figuratively and sometimes literally. They have experienced the university of life and should not just be left in some cases to be put out to ‘grass’ in pastures.

Another way to look at old age was an interesting WhatsApp post that I recently received from my friend Terry Brathwaite reposted below: In childhood A = Apple B = Ball C = Cat D = Doll E = Elephant.  In young age A = Android B = Bluetooth C = Currency D = Dance E = Enjoy.

In old age A = Arthritis B = Blood pressure C = Cholesterol D = Diabetes E = Emergency.  My take on life is that one is never too old to learn new skills, hobbies/pastimes or acquire a new lease of life in some other way. As the saying goes, it is never too late for a shower of rain and having learnt to swim in 2022 that is living proof that according to the lyrics of the great Jamaican singer Ernie Smith ‘Life is just for living’ or simply put one should live life to the fullest. So, to all elderly people keep on doing fulfilling and rewarding things and pass on your wealth of expertise and experience to the next generation who themselves will one day also be old. I hope this article has helped you prepare for old age…

Tony Kelly

Tony Kelly

London born Tony Kelly of Jamaican parents grew up in Jamaica and returned to live in Birmingham in 1979.
He is a graduate of Mico Teachers’ College and taught in Kingston high schools prior to working for 30+ years as a middle manager in central and local government with an emphasis on equity, equality, diversity and inclusion. He has a masters’ degree in socio-legal studies from the university of Birmingham.
For over a decade Tony has volunteered as a diabetes ambassador firstly for Diabetes UK and now for the National Health Service – Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group. A multi-award winner doing a yearly average of 150 health and well-being events, locally, nationally and internationally focusing on type 2 diabetes. He was diagnosed with this medical condition 18 years ago. However with a combination of physical activity and diet he has never taken medication thus proving with the right mindset and discipline it can be achieved.
As a diabetes advocate/activist Tony will continue delivering the message of healthy options to readers of CaribDirect.com .


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