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Believe it or not, on Wednesday 1st October it was Older People’s Day and I was invited to a reception at No 10 Downing Street to mark the occasion. Yes really, and whilst there shook the hand of both the PM and Sara, his wife. However you will be much more interested in why, apart from being closely related to Methuselah, I was there.
First about 90 older people assembled at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for tea and sarnies and an interesting spiel from Mike O’Brien, Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, who told us that just five years ago the Queen was sending out about 2,500 congratulatory telegrams a year to centagenerians. This year it would be 10,000 and in a few years this number will rise to 25,000. Extrapolated further, for our current under 5s, as many as 25% of them can expect to live to 100 and more. Mind blowing or not!
Some of us then crossed the street to No 10 where the hospitality was more sophisticated altogether. We were allowed ‘to roam’ about the state rooms with a glass of wine, admire the pictures and meet even more older people, most of whom are doing work with children. It was a great privilege and, though Debbie was far too young to come, her image was sitting on my shoulder all day so I never felt on my own!
Children and Older people, both are a great resource, the former often needing more stimulation, the latter being under appreciated and underutilised. Intergenerational was a word spoken many times, and the point of the day was to promote the positive outcome when children and old people get together. You can be sure that there is a positive outcome in financial terms for the government too! So as the young say – It’s a win-win situation.
Sylvia x