• Cuckoo? 12 November 2018 | View comments

  • 12th November 2018 | By David Jolley

    Emile Rateband has made a point for those of us sensitive to Ageism – He has raised a few chuckles by applying to court in Arnhem to change his official date of birth from March 1949 to March 1969. His claim is based on feeling younger than his chronological years – compounded by the disadvantages associated with being labelled old. One disadvantage cited is lack of interest from dating agencies. In itself this speaks of a characteristic of life amongst older people which may be a surprise to many.

    The comparison with changes in the law which allow legal re-designation of gender may be clumsy and perhaps offensive. The proposition that a date of birth be altered is preposterous. Maybe an alternative might be to advertise someone’s expected healthy life years remaining. Best of all is to accept age, but to counter the prejudice and ignorance that stigmatises people who are different. Now if Emile will learn to say: ‘I am pleased to be old. I have seen a great deal and learned so much. I have met wonderful people and received and given help and affection. Maybe I could have done more in these first 69 years – but there is time enough to do more.’ That will be a better resolution and an example to be followed.

    This week of remembrance, celebration of the end of The Great War, is a time when older people are feted by the media for their stories and memories of times past. Poppies are such a wonderful phenomenon – blood red and sprouting from the earth when it has been disturbed – by shells, or boots or road builders. Poppies all around a present – many made in tribute will last longer than the living flowers. The coming and the fading are their essence: ‘The flowers of the fields.’ Beyond capture.

    I have missed being at the Dementia Congress at Brighton. I hope people will let me know what happened there.

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