Tag Archives: train companies

Don’t grow old!

When I was a lot younger I remember older people telling me not to grow old. Thanks to the NHS and better nutrition most of us live longer lives than our grandparents or great grandparents did, but greater age brings more health problems. At 78 I already consume a handful of pills morning and night, and tend to take a lift rather than use the stairs. I have a marked reduction in energy to do normal everyday things and often need a nap during the day. In spite of those constraints I am still actively involved in my local party and I volunteer and engage in creative activities (as well as editing Lib Dem Voice).

Occasionally people make assumptions about me – last year a car salesperson asked me if I knew how to use Google, and my grandson asked me if I knew what RAM is (even though he had one of my books on Computing on his shelves). I don’t think I’ve really come across deliberate ageism as such, but I could quote many cases of unconscious/institutional bias. The latter mainly arise because younger people just can’t imagine what the limitations are as you get older.

I was struck by some of the comments around the proposals to close down ticket offices across the rail network. Some older people struggle with ticket machines – these can be challenging if their eyesight is poor, or they have weak manual dexterity. Others find online booking difficult, if not impossible, especially if they don’t have a smart phone or tablet. Even once online the complications of widely varying pricing and competing train companies can stump some.  Most people want to remain independent for as long as possible – and that is good for their mental health – but these challenges push people towards greater dependency on others, or force them to give up travelling by train.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 42 Comments

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