I went to see my GP the other day with symptoms that were clearly related to the menopause and he actually said that he didn’t really know much about it and advised me to re-book an appointment with a female doctor. WTF? How is that acceptable in this day and age? How are women still being allowed to wander around in a clueless space wondering what is happening to their bodies with no real information about what to do about it? The choices are stark once we are clear about what we are going through (which frankly might take years of strange symptoms that nobody associates with menopause); get through it naturally, deal with the hot sweats, the anxiety, the forgetfulness and the numerous other symptoms that vary dramatically from woman to woman (for me it was having to go to the loo far more times in the night) or start HRT and risk the side effects and the extreme opinions.
Unacceptable. We need more discussion. More clarity. More support.
This brings me on to the whole ageing process because it seems to me that understanding what later life is all about is woefully out of date. Still portrayed as a “narrative of decline” rather than a time of opportunity and change, we need to work out how to change the story. Especially for women, as we all know the older man is looked at differently to the older woman.
So I thought we should start with what older people should be called? I quite like the last four, but I’m still not sure we’ve got a solid, definitive, positive description that works moving forward:-
The Silver Surfers
The grey pound
Perennials (ever-blooming, hardy)
FOINO’s (Fuck Off I’m Not Old – I made that one up myself)
YOB’s (Young Old Beings – I made that one up too)
Ageism remains a form of discrimination worldwide and given how much longer everyone is living and given that the over 50’s (around a third of the population in the UK) account for just under 50% of all consumer spending, this needs a serious overhaul.
WE NEED A REBRANDING CAMPAIGN that takes into consideration the fact that most people want something different because there is far more flexibility in the various life stages of marriage, children and careers and perhaps this should start in the digital space. We need to embrace what is beautiful and experienced, rather than look at the decline element, just like this old car and it’s owners:-