You can’t do that! You’re over 50, stupid!

How many of us of a certain age have had this sort of thing said to us; often by friends and relatives, or the media. How strange then that,in a world which seems to daily challenge long held rules and customs, older people are being constrained in their activities or in what they wear by some long held arbitrary boundaries. A letter writer to the Sunday Independent was recently sufficiently moved to have a ‘rant’ about this in response to an article in that paper (published August 5,2012). Eleanor Coggins in the article had asked the two questions: “Should I embrace my inner pensioner?” and “When do I let the hair grow 50 shades of grey,wear twinsets and flesh-coloured tights?”

The writer was robust in her response. She remembers rules and criticisms from parents,teachers and community as a 16 year-old. Her hair was too short, or it was too long … Boyfriend was too old, and her hot pants too hot! Although high-fashion magazines say that women over 50 should never do this or that, she is determinedly going to embrace absurdity (she has decided to buy a pair of shiny red platform sandals) with the same brazen attitude she showed when she wore her much maligned green plastic platform shoes so many years ago.

It is probably true that many people, men and women, of a certain age, wear a kind of uniform dress code which can tend to define their age group. But if they break-out , and  wear what they feel best in, should they not be encouraged? This should also apply to activities where, within the physical and mental capacity,they should sky-dive, skinny-dip in the ocean, travel the world, join an amateur dramatic society,go to pubs and clubs, and so on.

I’m with the writer of the letter to the Independent. These pages will frequently return to this theme, and to give current news and ideas for breaking the ‘mould’.

So,where are you on this? Let me know.I’d love to hear from you.


Inability to pay the household bills – fear of the over-50s

Just when you reach that time of life, as a person in the UK  over the age of 50,you may find that instead of being able to look forward to a gentle ease into retirement looking to your own self needs and relaxation,you are facing the anxiety of having no other course but to sell your home to make ends meet. According to a SAGA report published recently, this frightening prospect is likely to be a reality for millions of over-50s. Inflation and the rock bottom savings interest rates are heavily to blame.

SAGA believe  that one in five worry that they will be forced  to ‘downsize’ by selling a family home to ensure enough cash is generated to pay soaring household bills. Furthermore, many over-50s are faced with trying to support their grown-up children, and their children, for example with help to pay mortgages, university fees,contribute  towards their children’s family holidays, and often basic weekly food bills. Non-essential expenditure is being reduced. Grandparents, it is said, are ‘going without’ because of  mounting pressure in these difficult economic times ‘ to support the younger generation.’

You can read more about the over-50s who are ‘sacrificing their own happiness’ in this  Daily Mail report