Comparing the generations


Sir, – There is a connection between an increase in life expectancy and the inevitable increase of demand on our health services. Increased life expectancy is hardly something to be thrilled about if your quality of life is impaired by ill health, the general deterioration of the human mind and body, or indeed ageism.

The reason older people got vaccines first is because they were likely to suffer far more from Covid 19 up to and including death, than younger people. Older people are vulnerable.

Many more older people possess disposable money than younger people. However, most of those older people worked hard for a long period of years, often doing without many things in their young adulthood for lack of cash. Things were different back then, but I’m not convinced they were easier overall. When we got our first house we went without many things that seem to be regarded nowadays as necessary and basic. We couldn’t afford them, but waited and saved and waited and sometimes got these things. And sometimes didn’t.

Many older people may have had secure jobs if they worked in the public sector, but there was never much job security in the private sector, and many tradespeople have never experienced job security – they expected to work extremely hard and hoped, thus, to survive or better.

Yes, we were able to get jobs on the strength of a Leaving Cert, though you then had to work your socks off to get to the same level of success as people back then who did have degrees. But university degrees were not regarded as an entitlement by school-leavers back then, which they seem to be now. The sense of entitlement stretches to believing they are entitled to a job (and a good one at that) if they have a degree.

I’m not actually complaining, and I don’t hear many old people complaining or moaning. Ageism exists, exactly as racism exists and misogyny exists. Nobody has any business dismissing me, my gender or my age group (seventies) for being in some way inadequate just because that is our age and gender. We have a wealth of life experience, have generally worked extremely hard all our lives, and are now approaching the period when society should be showing us respect, empathy and an acceptance that we will need extra care as the years go on. We cared for our helpless vulnerable babies and children without question or complaint. Is it not just the full turning of the wheel to expect the younger generation to do as much for us? – Yours, etc,