Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Full of Life?
This BBC news article reports on a government survey which shows that the vast majority of British people are friends with, or have things in common with, people of different age groups. I wonder what the specific questions were. And do they include family in that? 'Having things in common with' is a very broad concept really. And what do they mean by 'generation'?
Say you're 35 and socialise with people who are 25 or 45 - if asked 'Do you socialise with people of different age groups?', you could say yes, but that doesn't mean you also socialise with people who are 15, 55 or 65+. Likewise if you're 65 - you might have friends who are 55 or 75, but none who are younger than 40...
That's the problem with soundbites. When it comes to statistics you need to see the full detail to be able to make a proper judgement.
Anyway, the article mentions another government website, 'Full of Life' which claims to be "a celebration of the opportunities, achievements, and aspirations of older people and their contribution to our society and economy". Usually I'd say great, this looks like a really positive move. Apart from a couple of 'case studies', however, the website is really only a portal to various other old age-related sites. I agree totally that we should celebrate the contribution that older people make, but first I'd like to see the government do something constructive about the state of old people's homes, and fund treatments for mental illness for people over 65 which, I was shocked to find out, the NHS doesn't have to cover.
Image: maiqui maiqui