Saturday, 2 March 2013

Doing my bit for the baby boomers?

I was walking along in the winter sunshine the other day when I took a call about my request to take my pension early. I decided to do this to act as a security should I need more treatment for cancer in the future , to act as an income buffer for me if I was unable to work. Not what I plan you understand , nor what the risks would suggest but no guarantees either so it made sense.  They had good news for me, was the message. Because of my reduced life expectancy I would get a bigger annual sum. Now it's meagre so any enhancement is frankly welcome. But having your reduced life expectancy confirmed whilst walking along Princes St is a bit of a blow. Clearly my plan is to take the money and,  if not run, just walk away with my head up all the while planning to prove them wrong!

With this backdrop I considered the recent awareness raising with regard to changing demographics and the impact on health and social care. I personally may buck the trend but in the main my baby boomer generation will live long lives and in time need care and support sensitive to their situations and likely complex health needs. We won't  present neatly with a cancer or heart disease or arthritis, we will have maybe a history of all three with the complexity of living on our own and less people to act as formal or informal carers. The Queen or King of future times will have a sore wrist writing those telegrams to celebrate those getting to 100 and beyond and care homes will resonate to the sound of the Beatles and Fleetwood Mac rather than Vera Lynn! Clearly there is much to celebrate in this if it heralds a healthy third age where our wisdom is sought, our contribution to society still valued , our communities engaged and supportive.

But at some point the dependency ratio will tip so much that we have to recognise that our current approach to health and social care won't cut it. And what's of real interest to me is what that realisation will result in.  We do have the opportunity now to influence it. To fully embrace the person as a full partner in their care, to work with their assets, to enable the person and relationships to be key and recognise that through this improved health and  effective services will emerge.

Of course it takes courage to change, it can be messy, targets might get missed or need changed, mistakes will happen but progress from that can emerge. Services that join and connect around people are efficient and empowering for all but to be achieved people will need to give up their pasts and work flexibly into their futures. That will be uncomfortable but what's our alternative? I have oft heard politicians say that in health and social  there is much agreement across parties. I have seen this to be true at least in private. Whatever government is the hue they are going to have huge demographic challenges and it will need our collective will, courage and collaboration to enable success. So feel free to thank me for doing my bit, being a baby boomer who may not boom as long......the rest of them/us are going to challenge the system in all respects and it will need to be responsive to that.

Reasons to be cheerful!
This week I finalised my new website. The design is by the fabulous young Scottish designer Emily Hogarth. The words have been agonised over by me and I suspect I will change it over the next months and years.  Describing myself so roundly when frankly I even hate having my photo taken, is really hard. So the mirror has been held up in many different ways this week. And not only do I describe myself as a baby boomer I am also a coach who just loves working with others and a creative consultant who brings curiosity and connection to her work. And I may be doing my bit to bring down the life expectancy but I am really enjoying my latest part of the story.


  1. Seriously? Someone actually said, "because of your reduced life expectancy?" Out loud?? I'd say that was a bit of a blow, indeed, Audrey. I'm cheering you on to prove them wrong and that you will indeed be listening to the strains of James Taylor and Fleetwood Mac rather than Vera Lynn. Who would have imagined??

    1. To be fair what they said was because of your medical history....the inference the same. It's the only situation where our history might benefit us financially I guess! It punctured the denial for a moment....
      Now if they play Leonard Cohen in the care home I'm booking a place now just in case:-) x

  2. Like Yvonne, I am surprised someone said that to you. No one has even expressed that to ME. The most the doctors said was that my cancer was treatable, but not curable. They don't dare try to predict my life expectancy. Like you, I am a baby boomer. I don't think I will be one of those who, if I make it to sixty-five, people will describe as the new thirty. No one says I look younger than my age. But I'm just glad to be alive now.

    I like the look of your new website and wish you the best in your new venture. You will make an excellent coach. xox Jan

    1. Jan how lovely to have your wonderful warmth and wisdom back in the blogosphere. Yes it's just pension people who want to predict the future but its only that so I am ignoring it and boxing on.
      I'm sorry it's been such an awful time for you but so very pleased you are well enough to re-engage with us all. It's our reminder that each day is precious and not to waste it. Thanks for your kind words about my website. It's work in progress but I have long wanted to be a coach and realised that the time was now to do it.
      My warmest wishes to you and hope that you are being kind to yourself. And making every day count with those you love. I keep reminding myself to do that too. If cancer offers us anything it's to do just that.audrey xxx


Using your bounces wisely!

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