Legal ‘Age Change.’ Should It Be a Thing?

And might it change our attitudes to the elderly?

While trying to convince myself that I do not need the latest iPad, I stumbled upon a strange article on Engadget last night… Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Just in case you don’t fancy reading it I will summarise as quickly as I can — A 69-year-old man wants to legally change his age to 49. He hopes this will make him luckier on Tinder and allow him better opportunities for work. Yeah… Go read it.

Now I don’t want to get into the intricacies of what is and is not possible or legal or logical in this whole situation. I think it will be more interesting to look at the why.

by Alex Boyd on Unsplash

So… why?

Ratelband believes that if the courts will allow him to legally become 20 years younger he will be afforded opportunities that are unavailable to him. Judging by the reasoning behind his request as well as some of the quotes featured… he is probably not the average of most older people so please don’t think that I am basing this article on what his needs are!

But it did get me thinking.

Given a chance would the older generation legally change their age?

I think most of us can probably agree that Ageism is a thing in our society. Once people hit a certain age and can no longer contribute to society, they can sometimes be seen as a drain on that society. (People somehow forget that they probably worked their whole lives, supporting others with their taxes and should probably be afforded the same courtesy.)

It’s a sad state of thinking and one that surely we should have grown out of by now. In the animal kingdom the old and sick are regularly shunned from the pack, but surely we should have evolved past this way of thinking by now?

Throughout our lives, getting old is seen as a bad thing. It’s not surprising when you look at the way that we treat our older generation (at least here in the UK but I suspect that the problem persists worldwide.) Not to get too political but just look at the way our current political government treats the elderly…

Many older people spend days or even weeks at a time with no one for company and are seen as a burden to their families.

Years ago, when I was working for the NHS in the Emergency Department, I witnessed a strange, sad tradition that came around every year between the 22nd-24th December.

“Drop-a-granny”

For around three days before Christmas, families would bring their elderly relatives into the department with the sole intention of getting them admitted to hospital over the Christmas period. There was nothing medically wrong with these people.

Let’s just take a second to let that sink in.

People would bring their relatives into hospital in the hopes that they wouldn’t have to look after them over Christmas, a time where you should be surrounded by your family.

And I’m not talking about extended family here, oh no! I’m talking about sons and daughters dropping their mothers and fathers off.

Unbelievable.

by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

So what’s the solution?

It’s the easiest solution to any problem that has ever existed. We just need to care a little more.

That’s it.

As a bare minimum, we need to look out a little more for those in our family (as I’m sure most people do) but spare a thought for those without families.

It’s not rocket science and it’s a sad state of affairs when this isn’t the go to response by many. But luckily there may be hope if we can look outside of our own society across to the other side of the world;

I read an incredible piece by Kim Samuel earlier today that looks into how elderly people are treated within Japan and I highly recommend taking a look. We could all learn a little! I’ve linked it here;

Thank you for reading!

Script reader/editor, freelance writer, photographer and pizza enthusiast. No pineapple. Instagram @bradley_allen_photography

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