This is the 2nd introduction to the Living Better Conversation where we suggest that we have an opportunity to create the new old age together. We’re living longer, let’s also live better!
Want to live in a nursing home for the rest of your life?
How many articles have you read that predict increasing demand for care and estimate the number of new nursing home beds we need? Most analysis simply assumes that the government will fund this, despite the reality that, at the same time, the public purse is shrinking.
Such debate about the demand for, or supply of nursing home beds hides a bigger reality. No matter how these beds are funded or how wisely the current system is reformed, no one actually wants to use it. Nor will the majority of us be able to afford it.
What choice do we have?
Using yesterday’s attitudes, social mores and policy models to plan our futures won’t work. We need to think about how we want to live as we grow older. Only then can we determine the best ways to do achieve this.
Despite the scaremongering that surrounds the aging agenda, less than 10% of people aged 65 and over live in nursing homes, and only about 14% choose to live in retirement villages.
Create the new old age, together
Most of us choose to remain living at home, and will continue to do so into very old age.
- If we are honest, old age is the natural progression of life from childhood to adolescence to adulthood and on. It is not a problem, but an opportunity to do things differently.
- The concept of “lifters” (providers) and “leaners” (dependents) is also simplistic; in reality we can all play multiple roles, sometimes changing from one to another many times in one day.
As in previous generations, we become (or remain) vulnerable in many ways as we grow old. But we also have the potential to be active and productive, long after the traditional age of retirement.
Contributing to our family, friends and communities is an important part of life, and living well. Modern technological, economic and social environmental breakthroughs make new ways of contributing possible.
Growing old is not all doom and gloom. Together we can create the new old age!