7 November 2012

Grumpy Old Girl

In yesterday's Daily Telegraph someone of 62 was referred to as 'elderly'.  Well if that's elderly, then what are 72, 82, 91 and indeed 102? 

Other people perceive old is when we get  things such as wrinkles, liver spots, weakened hearing, incontinence problems and reduced mental ability - how depressing.  

The government must think that we're elderly at 60 or so, otherwise why would we be eligible for a winter fuel allowance? 

I think of 'elderly' as being frail and dependent on others for basic needs (see: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080903032103AAKEDcY), and 'old' as being 'getting on in years', as I am now.  I've only felt older since my mother passed on earlier this year, before that she was the older generation. So perhaps that's the answer to staying young - adopt a granny!

However, it seems I may be wrong (never!).  On the World Health Organisation site (http://www.who.int/healthinfo/survey/ageingdefnolder/en/index.htmlover 60 can be classed as elderly, or even in some cultures as young as 50 or 55.  They go on to say that definitions of getting older include: 
  • chronology; 
  • change in social role (i.e. change in work patterns, adult status of children and menopause); and 
  • change in capabilities (i.e. invalid status, senility and change in physical characteristics). 
with the change in social role being the biggest indicator.  

not me, just some else poking fun
Using the above criteria then perhaps I am elderly as I'm now more or less retired, have effectively been through the menopause (apart from the odd inconvenient hot flush) and the children are now grown up (well most of the time!).

If in a society privileges and status are linked to being elderly then people are more happy to be classed as elderly.  Japan is a good example of this.   But in western culture old age is looked upon as a disadvantage.  Thus the reluctance to be classified as old.  

When watching TV, for instance, I often feel that the older person, especially women, are completely ignored, ditto in fashion magazines.  Another definition is one I once heard that old age is 5 years older than one is at the time.  In that case old age starts at 66.  

As 'old' doesn't sound nearly as old as 'elderly', I'm going to stick with 'getting on a bit' or 'old' but not 'elderly' 'til many years hence.


Running on from this, I've decided that as I'm nearly elderly then it's time that I started being a grumpy old git - or rather a grumpy old girl.

8th November: Todays grump is seeing a chap sitting in an Asda groceries delivery van, sitting texting, with the engine still running chucking out fumes and ruining our environment.

22 November: Saw cookie cutters for sale in a shop - when did we stop eating biscuits?  The only advantage I can see with this is that 'cookie cutter' trips off the tongue better than 'biscuit cutter'.  Or perhaps it's that cookies are softer so are easier to eat?

23 November:  Is being old when younger members of the family only contact you/see you 'out of duty'?  Not because it's fun.

4 December:  It says in the Daily Telegraph that the over-55s are more likely to be victims of fraud because they are less able to recognise untrustworthy faces, research suggests.  Studies using MRI scanning found that older people had less active response in a region of the brain known as the anterior insula, which is linked to disgust.
Skills for making good financial decisions deteriorate from the early to mid-50s, with the classic victim of fraud being a 55-year-old man who was vulnerable to missing facial cues that are 'easily distinguished'.

A few more:

  • Road rage, being 'cut up'on the motorway, twice, in the past two weeks.

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