Gerry Retief wrote this article about Ageism in June 2012 and has given his permission for reproduction.
“The first article I wrote for News24 (“I’m Sick and Tired”) had a huge and mostly positive response. The few negative respondents to this article showed an astonishingly strong prejudice against age.
(I, perhaps foolishly, revealed in the article that I was 75) The assumption was that because of my age I’m past it and that I was a whining old man. There were also astonishing generalisations: “The older generation is much more negative than us youngsters”. These responses made me look into the whole ageism thing and the truth about ageing and the amazing capabilities of the aged.”
Very few people realise that the fastest growing population group world-wide is the 100+ age group. The US Census Bureau estimates that in 2050 there will be a minimum of 265000 centenarians in the US and a possible 4.218 Million with a mean of 834000. The latest census (2011) gives the number of centenarians in the US as 73000.
Now , I can see the trolls sharpening their quills and slavering at the mouth to say things like “Yes but how healthy are these people?” and “How productive are they?” Well I’m not there quite yet so I can’t speak for the centenarians, but I will give you one for instance of a Doctor in Okinawa who is over 100 and who puts us all to shame:
Dr Shigeaki Hinohara is the most famous 100 year-old man in Japan. Hinohara is a medical doctor who lives life to the fullest. He gives talks throughout Japan, encouraging people of all age groups to live healthy, productive lives. Hinohara is the president of St. Luke’s International Hospital, a recipient of Japan’s Order of Culture, and chairman of the Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation. Always willing to try new things, he has published around 150 books since his 75th birthday, including one “Living Long, Living Good” that has sold more than 1.2 million copies. As the founder of the New Elderly Movement, Hinohara encourages others to live a long and happy life, a quest in which no role model is better than the doctor himself.
Perhaps the prejudice and negative ageism shown by the trolls stem from fear and ignorance? Fear of growing old and ignorance of what septuagenarians, octogenarians, nonagenarians and centenarians are capable of.
My personal view is that some people are born old. What I find astonishing is that some people of fifty and older are almost proud of the fact that they are computer illiterate and have no desire to learn. This is no reason for the trolls to generalise and regard all older people as ignorant or harbouring a particular mind-set. I absolutely refuse to be shoved into a compartment: “Oh he’s old, so he knows nothing or has no teeth or is a doddering old fool”. To the trolls out there, do your worst, but beware: don’t mess with us oldies.
An elderly man in Mpumalanga owned a large farm. He had a large dam on the farm, fixed nicely with picnic tables, horseshoe pits, and some apple and peach trees. The dam was properly shaped and fixed for swimming.
One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the dam, as he hadn’t been there for a while, and look it over. He grabbed a ten litre bucket to bring back some fruit.
As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. As he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his dam. He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end. One of the women shouted to him, “We’re not coming out until you leave!”
The old man frowned, “I didn’t come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the pond.” Holding the bucket up he said, “I’m here to feed the crocodile!”
MORAL: Old men can still think fast.
Ed. “Here’s to us pensioners”. Retired people are far too active (thanks to modern drugs) to just pull up sticks at 65. So we look for ways to do something productive and if it generates revenue, well that’s a bonus – so rock ‘n roll pensioners. How’s about we help each other ? Join the RASKI network, you never know you might have just the skills that the bloke down the road is looking for. Did I forget to mention that retired folk clearly understand the relationship between salary and productivity and they certainly don’t ‘toyi toyi’ at the drop of a hat ?