I’m about to speak at two events focussing on creating “age friendly” housing and communities.

Yet, the term age friendly still implies a paternalistic approach to supporting people in later life. It suggests that the omnipotent know better and need to create an environment that is risk free. Because obviously you need to stop doing things that could be risky when you’re older. Wrong!

We think society should be ageless, allowing you to continue doing whatever you love, at whatever stage of life. You shouldn’t be defined by your age but recognised as an individual.

Think about the stage of life you’re at now. I’m certainly not defined by my age, are you? Nobody has told me I’m too old to start a business, which some would describe as very risky. In fact, school was probably the last time someone did decide what I could do based on how old I was.

At what age are you too old? On one hand there are builders trying to encourage the “over 55s” to downsize and take it easy, and on the other hand there are people in their 80s and 90s still working and taking an active part in their community.

Let’s stop discriminating by grey hair and segmenting by date of birth, and encourage people to make the most of their life at every stage.

Sara

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Follow Sara McKee @SaraMcKeeFRSA