Old age is not a cage: don’t tell us how to look after ourselves

World

Old age is not a cage: don’t tell us how to look after ourselves

Do all senior citizens need to be corralled in our kitchens, cowed by Big Brother warnings and threats about the virus?

Jan Etherington

I knew it was serious when I received phone calls from both my children on Sunday morning. The greeting changed from the usual, chirpy “How are you?!”, with an uplilt at the end, to a more ominous “How are you?” and continued with “Is there anything you need?” As I’ve spent all their lives asking them that question, it was odd but rather touching to have it directed at me.

These are strange times for everyone but especially for us septuagenarians.

Suddenly, we are being talked about as a homogeneous mass – “the elderly”, the “over-70s”. From this weekend, we in the UK are being told to self-isolate for 12 weeks, which takes me back to my teenage years, when my father banned me from leaving the house, after I took up with a boy on a motorbike. Of course, like everyone else, I have been watching this vicious virus spreading across the world with some alarm. I know it will affect us all, in one way or another. I also know that, logically, older people are more vulnerable, often because of other health conditions...

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