grandad once said to me “Don’t grow old. It's a pain in the
arse.” That advice has stuck in my head and I've practised the
“live fast, die young” mentality accordingly ever since (although
admittedly I have only successfully fulfilled half of that at the
time of writing).
thought of being surrounded by other dribbling old folks staring
vacantly into space just does not appeal to me. However I do quite
like the idea of moving doolally residents' bookmarks back a couple
of chapters every day. Hopefully I will have an evil beneficiary to
finish me off with a pillow when I get decrepit anyway.
is estimated that 1 in 6 of us will live to be a centenarian. Woody
Allen once said, “we can all live to be a hundred if we give up the
things that make us want to live to be a hundred”. While I have my
quoting boots on, Dennis Wolfberg quipped that “There's one
advantage to being 102. There's no peer pressure.” (What do you do
when one of your friends tells you not to give into peer pressure
though?). We might look back on that quote when we are all in our
hundreds and laugh one day. He won't though as he died at less than
half that age.
is advanced enough that we can do what we want when we are young and
take a pill to correct many of the problems when we are older. My dad
has a pillbox that would make Charlie Sheen envious. Quite often
oldies have their medication categorised into a massive 7 x 4
compartmental pillbox - breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime pills. It
is good fun moving the laxative 'morning' pill alongside the
'bedtime' sleeping pill. Not such good fun clearing that up though as
they are not natural bedfellows.
UK population will be galloping up towards an overstretched 100
million in 50 years. Who knows how many millions will be in need of a
care home then? The numbers may be alarmist but perhaps they don't
take into account that many are not financially prepared for a
lengthy old age. Stress caused by poverty, combined with a poorer and
cheaper diet will account for many. A massive war or killer epidemic
would certainly be a boon in thinning numbers, creating more Zimmer
care homes will be privately funded but the government will have to
chip in heavily too. People will be taxed more and have less money
stashed under their soiled mattress for their old age. There is no
doubt that the retirement age will gradually increase and be in the
70s by the time many of us are allowed to retire. This means many
more of us will die while we are still at work. Anything to make the
day more interesting.
is estimated the world's first person to live until 150 is already
alive, although chances are they are probably not English.
Considering that only one person has ever lived to 120, that's quite
a progression but we do potentially have 149 years and 364 days to
are relatively early in the technological age, and advancement in
stem cell therapy, genetic engineering, advanced bionics,
nanotechnology and rejuvenation therapy will mean the boundaries of
human existence could be pushed well beyond 150 years, just hopefully
not heads in a jar like in Futurama. Old folk's homes are gonna be
chocka. How will we cope? Bunk beds don’t seem feasible and there
are only so many angry Nigerian nurses to go around.
expectancies of well into the hundreds may be pretty commonplace by
the second half of the century. When so many are living so long, it
is going to be expensive retiring half way through your life. Slow
and steady wins the race but is the prize of a tortoise-like age
worth having? I'm going to stick my neck out and say no.
going to be a pretty depressing existence to live-slow-die-old
especially if surrounded by other like-minded grumpy individuals who
haven't budgeted for their longevity. Assisted
be legal by then so people will be able to purchase 'speedy boarding'
to check in with their maker. Euthanasia is not a continent I have
visited but I'm sure Saga would do great deals there.
would be a radical move but a cap on living until 100 could be very
beneficial to a country's finances. Using a cricketing analogy it
would be a bit like reaching your maiden century, waving your bat to
the pavilion and being bowled next ball. I'm not sure of the best way
to put old people down but I probably wouldn't put Jeremy Clarkson in
charge. Can't have them being executed in front of their families.
how will life be when we are old and knackered? We currently have a
cosy impression of pensioners - carpet slippers, dressing gowns,
crocheted blankets over their laps in a rocking chair. But many of
those images are bound to die out way before we will. I wonder
whether the comfy slacks and cardigan of today will be replaced by
hoodie and jeans hanging off the arse? Aptly enough, the latter is a
style which they stole from old people.
rooms aren't particularly heaving hubs of action in OAP homes.
Perhaps in the future when our hearing is gone we will be chatting
online to the person in the next chair. That's assuming our eyes
aren’t shot and the RSI from 90 years of texting and typing hasn’t
crippled our fingers.
telegram for century-makers from the Queen may well have stopped
before she reaches her landmark. It's doubtful she would send herself
a birthday card though. She has been known to send herself
Valentine's cards, but Prince Philip isn't the jealous type anyway.
Centenarian Clerk at Buckingham Place may develop printing cramp as
more and more people reach their centenary. A little known fact is
once 105 is reached, an extra telegram is sent every birthday,
although less than ten percent of centenerarians reach 105. It will
be interesting to see when and if they change the congratulatory
telegram to an e-card, Facebook message or Tweet. A telegram for
today’s youngsters is a very outdated sentiment. STOP.
used to work for an alternative telecoms company and when customers
hadn’t used the service for a few months they would be sent a
marketing letter saying “We miss you and we want you back!”.
Funnily, from the point of view of this anecdote (not so much from
the point of view of his wife), this letter inevitably went to an old
fella who had died. His hysterical wife rang up, wanting to know how
we could be so heartless in our Lazarushian invitation.
oldest living person is 115 years old now although it is common for
the record to swap around a couple of times a year as they keep dying
off. It seems no one wants the title. Emma Tillman in 2007 held the
title of oldest living person for just 4 days before the pressure
finally got to her. Perhaps she partied a bit too hard in
Ireland, centenarians not only receive a letter from the president
but €2540 'Centenarian Bounty'. Perhaps the government hedges their
bets when people are edging into their late nineties and nip down to
Paddy Power to get some crappy odds on the nonagenarian ticking over
into a centenarian.
generosity of the Irish government probably won't last too much
longer as the country already gives money away like a paedo does
sweeties. Ireland currently pays over thrice what is paid to the
unemployed in England. When the Icelandic volcanic eruption in 2010
disrupted air travel, benefit claimants nosedived as the
out-of-towners were unable to get back into Ireland to bleed it dry.
This served as a huge wake-up call to the country but everyone had
already fecked off cos the country was already on it's arse.
Holden is a man who deserves a mention with regard to a longevity
bet. In 1997, when he was 90 years old he was offered odds of 250-1
by dopey bookmakers William Hill that he would reach 100. He claimed
£25000 in 2007 and probably the job of the odds compiler who
massively miscalculated the odds. The true odds would have been
closer to 5/1. An unbelievably perky Mr. Holden was quoted as saying,
been very careful about what I've been doing in recent months. If I
saw any hooded groups from William Hill standing in the street, I
avoided them." and even claimed that the Queen delivered his
telegram personally on a bicycle. I am surprised his heart survived
the journey home with 25k stuffed into his pants.
to the Department for Work and Pensions, I have a 13.6% chance of
reaching 100, whilst someone born today would be twice as likely to
blow out 100 candles (or die trying). As a natural born worrier I am
sure I will not make it. I know the stress of reaching 92 and knowing
that my odds of waking up the next day are the same as my odds of not
waking up will certainly cause me not to wake up sooner rather than
later. So I am quite happy to disappear anonymously in the night
sometime. Or a blaze of glory if the opportunity arises. Whatever.