‘Older people’s lives are being wasted too’

Sir, – Breda O'Brien's "Older people's lives are being wasted too" (Opinion & Analysis, May 8th) was a thought-provoking column that should be digested by anyone interested in how we treat our fellow human beings.

Ageism is alive and well.

Covid has shone a bright light on the fallout from cutbacks over recent years.

All of us now, whatever the age, are just ticks in boxes designed by someone from the comfort of a cold bureaucratic setting. This is particularly the case for people over 65.


Many of us are blessed with good health and energy due to the circumstances of our birth and how our lives have panned out, but so many other people are not so lucky.

We should not be afraid to speak out and let our views be heard.

This would support and encourage younger people to see that we are all in this together and that they too, with luck, will reach the ripe old of 65 before not too long. One in six of our population will be aged over 65 by 2030.

Today older people can see themselves portrayed as victims opportunistically or as the new 30 year olds. We should be accepted for what we are, with the rights and opportunities we are entitled to. We should make our presence felt at local and national level to ensure we are not consigned to the scrap-heap before our time.

“Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven’t committed.”

These words were written by novelist Anthony Powell in 1973.

How prophetic was that statement? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.

Sir, – We at Age & Opportunity are in full agreement with Breda O’Brien’s assertion that “Older people’s lives are being wasted too”.

We should all, no matter what age we are, have choices about where we live, when we eat, get up and go to bed.

Furthermore, we should all have access to public services and resources, meaningful and enjoyable activities, and the chance to flourish as we age.

Let not the Wasted Lives report published by the Ombudsman last week be a wasted opportunity to address quality of life and policy frameworks for all citizens living in care settings, regardless of age. – Yours, etc,


Policy, Research

and Evaluation Manager.

Age & Opportunity,

Dublin 9.