The Big Match: Oldies vs Youngsters
Updated: Jan 3
Does the enthusiasm of the Youngsters stand a chance against the wisdom of the Oldies?
Round One: Brexit
Brexit divided opinion in a rather unpleasant way. The Oldies were keen to get out of the EU and the youngsters wanted to remain. There was quite a lot of animosity during (endless) discussions and there were divisions between north/south, rich/poor, old/young.
The final tally for the vote was as follows:
· 60% of people over the age of 65 voted to leave the EU
· 73% of people aged between 18-24 voted to stay.
So although the Youngsters won percentage wise, the Oldies had far more people in their team. But this wouldn’t have been the case 60 years ago when the average life expectancy in Britain was only 71. It has risen to 81 – that’s ten extra years! So a significant advantage to the Oldies here. I award them the point because they won that particular battle.
Oldies 1 – 0 Youngsters
Round Two: Covid
2020 brought a physical divide. There might have been a lot of arguments in 2019 but these have long been forgotten. The horror of not being allowed to see loved ones for fear of catching the deadly disease has been far worse than Brexit. We have all seen photos and videos of old people looking out of a window in bewilderment as their relatives try to shout encouraging things to them from the other side.
Approximately 418,000 people live in care homes (Laing and Buisson survey 2016). This is 4% of the total population aged 65 years and over, rising to 15% of those aged 85 or more.
But the Oldies are not the only ones to have been isolating; the Youngsters have also felt like prisoners. But at least they understand what is going on, unlike the 850,000 people (most of whom are aged 50 or over) who are living with dementia in the UK.
Which is worse:
a) Fearing for your relative with dementia and not being able to explain why your visits suddenly stopped, or
b) Living with dementia over lockdown. Living with dementia at all?
I can’t decide so I’m going to give one point to each team.
Oldies 2 – 1 Youngsters
Round Three: Imagination
In the 1950s children played in the streets outside their houses (yes, there was less traffic but it sounds fun!) They had hula-hoops, footballs, skipping ropes and cards. They couldn’t go on holidays or to the cinema because money was scarce. They listened to the radio for entertainment and their fast food was fish and chips. Phones were attached to a long dangly wire in a room where everyone else could listen in, and when you took a photo, you might wait over a year for the film to be used up and then developed.
Today is very different. Children still play with each other but very often virtually, on a screen. In their bedrooms! Yes there is football but it has to be the ‘right’ football and you have to kick it with the ‘right’ boots. The holiday and cinema situation is the same but for a different (and hopefully temporary) reason. Fast food is found everywhere and from everywhere. Almost every young person has their own phone on which they can communicate in private but they no longer use their voices anyway– it’s all text.
I am going to give one point to the oldies for their ability to make toys out of old newspaper, wooden spoons and conkers (Microsoft Word doesn’t recognize ‘conkers’!) No points for the Youngsters – sadly imagination is not required so much these days.
Oldies 3 – 1 Youngsters
Round Four: Acceptance
This is where the Oldies lose out big time. In their day LGBTQ didn’t exist. Well if it did it wasn’t spoken about. Race issues were to do with running rather than colour of skin, and it was seen as the norm for men to earn money by having a job and for women not to earn money but do everything else.
The Oldies generally struggle with trans-gender/racism/women working issues. Some of the words used by the Youngsters to describe the above make the Oldies wince and they can find these topics very uncomfortable to discuss.
Youngsters today are far more open and accepting so I award them 2 points.
…and there goes the whistle for the end of the first half.
The score so far: Oldies 3 – 3 Youngsters
Then Gran said, “Just put it all away in the box now.” It was the most sensible thing she had ever said to me. I would put my worries in a box. I would be okay. I might not have parents, but I have all these kind, funny people looking out for me, wanting the best for me.
It’s Raining in Moscow and I Forgot my Umbrella is available in paperback and on Kindle
Read some reviews from around the world below:
If you, your friends or your family are facing dementia, then get hold of a copy of this book. It has a more positive view of dementia than is usual in our society. It describes a way of coping with compassion and humour.
Moving between a life in Russia of the past and in England at the present time, the story gains momentum with a slow build up of how two completely different lives become intertwined. Easy to read with a thrilling plot, I could hardly put the book down. I loved how the story unraveled switching between the two main characters until their story paths meet and become one. The characters are so well described, I could picture them easily: Billy at school and 'home', Manya eagerly finding a life of her own. It was fun meeting the other characters who are part of Billy's life and interesting to see personalities change through experiences they make. I really enjoyed reading it and do hope there'll be a sequel!
A story you won't be able to let go until you finish it.