I thank you for your recent proclamation of 22.06.11 and appreciate its relevance as I approach my dotage, but yet would ask you to consider the above quote.
It’s a fact that I, despite not yet being 65 am addicted to smoking, drinking and eating – but not necessarily in that order. Nevertheless in whatever order they are placed – I indulge.
I was a child of the fifties and ate copious amounts of butter, lard, beef dripping – indeed one of my favourite foodstuffs was that of bread and dripping with copious amounts of salt. Food was routinely fried in these obnoxious (yet natural) substances as was the norm in those ignorant days. (Can anyone remember eating sugar sandwiches? I never did as the thought of it made my stomach churn – but folk did then!)
I was allowed to take all kinds of risks e.g. eating fat laden, sugary and salty foods, climbing and swinging from trees, playing in dirt, and the general rough and tumble of being a kid. I even played conkers without wearing safety glasses and helmet! Yet despite this entire risk taking I have survived. (Some might say I am physically and psychologically damaged by same and perhaps they may be correct – but I would say “Step forward accuser – show yourself!)
I have smoked since aged seventeen and probably began drinking in my then teenage sort of way around the same time yet have no health ishoos related to same (or indeed my fat/sugar/salt consumption as a child). Please be assured that I accept that both addictions can and indeed do have serious ramifications on health if one overindulges.
I must admit to listening to medical advice re intake of foodstuffs and wrongly or rightly have adjusted my eating habits for many more years than I care to remember. Years into my/our re-education, my worst half was discovered to have high cholesterol - despite our healthy eating regime - of the naughty kind and I then threw out the chip pan and on average buy eggs four times per annum, this despite being aware that all will have no effect on lowering cholesterol as only medication can.
Despite all these admitted sins people of my and indeed older generations are living longer. Can you explain this? Attempting to rationalise this myself, I have considered that better healthcare – as in the good old NHS – and medications are allowing us to live longer and perhaps this might be a truth, or perhaps just a convenient truth that is an untruth?
I shall now focus on your recent health policing of the over sixty-fives and your proclamation that behind closed doors, these selfish people - who have had the temerity to reach pensionable age and thus become a burden on the state and indeed society itself, are drinking their silly little heads off! How dare they madam!
One of your bullet points reads thus:
- A third of older people with alcohol use problems develop them later in life – often as a result of life changes such as retirement or bereavement of feelings of boredom, loneliness and depression.
How dare they feel bored, lonely and depressed! How dare they take solace in a little tipple alone, at home? Perhaps one of the reasons they now drink at home is that due to the smoking ban their little favourite pub where they socially engaged with friends is now closed, or if they smoke they now have to stand outside, whatever the prevailing weather, to indulge in this substance abuse, that is, if they can stand up after swilling large amounts of alcohol.
C’mon Ilana, this health policing is getting a bit too much. I do accept that some older people may become alcohol dependant in later life for exactly the reasons raised in the bullet point – but do you have any suggestions on how to deal with their un-met needs,etc and resulting depression that lead to this abuse? And do all over sixty-fives, by definition, fall into this category? It appears by your proclamation that they do.
Do you and do your colleagues confine themselves to recommended (arbitrary) weekly alcohol intake? Will you and they follow your recommendations when over 65? Doubt it.
(The unwashed one)