Monday, February 13, 2012
david halpern, a downing street advisor, has suggested that loneliness is a major health problem for the elderly. the solution is for them to keep active, to keep working. this means that they maintain their social activity and ths stave off loneliness. of course the only problem with this is the lack of potential jobs for them to do. not that it will be an issue as this current government is slowly beginning to increase the age at which you can retire on a state pension. it won't be a case of choosing to stay in work in order to stay healthy, it will be a case of not being able to quit work because there is no pension available to you just yet. (this will affect tbe poor much more than it will the rich - a happy by-product of the tory thinkers thinking.) mr. halpern was also the bloke who suggested that the elderly are clogging up the housing market by, the horror, staying in their homes when their families have moved out. grant shapps, housing minister, has suggested that councils should help the elderly downsize so that their houses could be rented out to younger larger families. (i suspect that mr shapps will not be asking those millionaires with their large houses or luxury flats to be giving up their spare bedrooms in order to help those who do not have adequate housing for their needs.) it is not that either idea is particularly ludicrous many o.a.ps want to stay active and want to contribute to society. they would be more than happy to work to earn some extra cash, or volunteer. but we know there are not enough jobs to go around as it is now, without addng in the elderly. yes the voluntary sector can probably use the influx of cheap workers. yet somehow it seems faintly callous to encourage or 'nudge' the elderly to step up and volunteer to keep servies such as libraries going - because the government has decided it can't pay for them to be staffed. the same with housing - i am sure there are a lot of elderly people who would like to move to smaller places - if there was the right accomodation in the right place for them. yet that is the very problem of the housing market: there doesn't seem to be enough housing of any type for the number of people who need it. if only someone could nudge mr. halpern and mr. shapps to actually do something about creating work rather than shuffling the pieces around.