Today, one in six of the UK population is aged 65 or over.
Until quite recently people of a certain age felt defined by what passed as appropriate for their parents, and their forebears. This earlier attitude, bringing with it all things ageism, was reinforced by a lower life expectancy, and by the many legal and social rules in our society which dictated what should or should not be done at certain times in life, particularly in later life. This was no less apparent than in the workplace where legislation and pension arrangements decreed when our work was done and it was time to retire.There were clear rules to follow and little room to negotiate a longer work life in business,education,or in the community at large. Very often these rules extended to how we should generally spend the rest our later lives.
Today life expectancy is at an all time high, and for many there is a quality of life to match in terms of health and lifestyle that has rarely been better.Many of the determinants of how our later years should be spent have fallen away: restrictive employment legislation, for example, including a state statutory retirement age,and the recent lifting of the limited options over pension savings have helped widen the freedom of choice. Also,it is no longer deemed unusual for older people to be looking for new occupational or recreational challenges which would have been unheard of in earlier generations.
So is this no age to retire?
Do barriers still exist to developing a society in which opportunity is unaffected by age and where a person’s experience and skills are held to have continuing value?
It seems that such barriers do continue to exist according to a collaborative group of individuals and representatives of businesses and academia supporting a movement known as The Age of No retirement?
Those from many walks of life who do have the willingness,energy and ability to continue to be active, gainfully employed even, in later life can still encounter a traditional outlook about age.This ageist view is now often expressed by employers and co-workers as a moral imperative on older people to ‘retire’ and voiced when denouncing a perceived age of ‘the desk-blocker’.
If you wish to join the debate on the opportunities and challenges of change for you now, or in later life,you can sign-up for a three-day event (27,28,29 April 2015) organised by The Age of No Retirement? to be held in Manchester.