A Plan for a nice old age…22 life lessons.

Its not funny being old.

And as that is a state most of us in the rich developed world will experience,  we’d better get a grip of life’s challenges and opportunities while we have the capabilities to do so.

One challenge is not to make comedy out of simply being old itself; to treat it as one homogenous experience in which we all descend into a wrinkly, toothless, incontinent, mindless state, tinged with petty racism and dominoes. I think I might have just failed that test, probably because I’ve just pissed myself on the train because I’ve forgotten how to use a toilet. I blame this on immigration. 

1 in 20 over the age of 60, 1 in 3 over the age of 80. If that is the answer, what is the question? Is it: how many people in the UK were born in the UK? How many people know that most statistics are randomly selected to suit an argument? How many people know that ‘muffin the mule’ is not a euphemism? The real answer is: how many people will have dementia in the UK? This is not funny. Not even remotely funny and made worse by our collective, and probably wilful, neglect of the cost to individuals and families and our seeming unwillingness to address this as a society. 

GPs have stated that many of them lack the training required to adequately address dementia. There is not a nationally implemented evidence based care pathway accessible to all. Services are disjointed and sometimes hardly in existence while social care is means tested and complex. The result is that carers face an enormous burden every single day. Dementia hits at least two people, the person diagnosed, and their carer. The social, economic and mental health cost is taken up by individuals and their families. 

We seemingly have lost the will to respond collectively to this health and well being issue. Or should that be the Ruling Party, who represent wealth, never did have the will to address this because they have nanny and a nice littler earner in the British Virgin Isles looking after their constituents in raid sodden Redditch.

Thatcher after all said there is no such thing as society, only individuals and families. So, now we’d rather let individuals and families carry the major burden for dementia care because thats the ‘right thing to do’. After all, it is the families’ responsibility to care and to love. ‘We’ justify this position by arguing that it is the individual and the family who are best placed to make decisions about health and social care and can therefore make better choices than a stalinist NHS. If you get old, that is your choice and you should make provision for it. Why should ‘hard working families’ pay taxes to look after your rag tag bag of wrinkly skin and bones? Wipe your own arse before asking nanny to do it. You can of course choose to spend your money on a cruise or care. Your choice. 

So in this spirit, I offer you the following to help you make better choices. 

If you want care when you can’t remember your name, then make provision for it now:

  1. Have children. Do not do what the feckless, limp wristed ‘gays’ do. Who else is going to look after you if you swan about worrying about interior design? Gays could put the money they save on bringing up children into investments for social care instead of cruising and singing old Dorothy Day hits of the fifties. 
  2. Have daughters. Sons are useless. Sons work, and end up getting drunk and shagging. They also move about the country a bit. Daughters however can be socialized into nurturance and a self loathing which can only be assuaged by helping others, often without pay! Thats why they go into nursing. because they like to ‘make a difference’ and to provide ‘compassionate care’. Care work is ‘character based moral labour’ and thus enables the basic caring intuitions of daughters to be exploited, er, ’empowered’. Two daughters are ideal because they can guilt trip each other about not caring for poor old mum or dad, thus ensuring at least one will be there for you. Repeat, don’t bother too much about sons, unless he gets a decent job to pay for all your incontinence equipment. Sons can’t be guilt tripped as easily as daughters. Especially when the football is on. 
  3. Be nice to your daughters. But you don’t have to overdo it because of point two. 
  4. Be at least middle class (by that I mean proper middle class). Earn enough to send your kids to private school/Oxbridge/jobs in the City, marketing or law. Middle class means knowing what polenta is, that a Margaux is a red (wine) and living in Surrey. Its not picking your nose in public, showing your tits at a party or Redruth. Its having a gap year not a gap in your education. Earn enough for a cleaner and for a nice middle class carer on her gap year “doing this to give something back”. 
  5. Get a decent tax accountant well versed in schemes to hide your wealth from the skivers. Ensure they are well up on inheritance issues.
  6. Earn enough to need a tax accountant to address inheritance issues. 
  7. Marry a rich person. Proper rich. The sort that can afford the staff in their holiday home in Bermuda.
  8. Vote conservative so that the feckless poor don’t bleed you dry.
  9. Avoid the NHS like the plague ridden pox house it is. Employ a concierge doctor and have consultants in your social circle. Ensure you have private health insurance, better still own a private health clinic. Choose your nurses personally, you know the type. Comely wenches are ok but better still get cheap ones from foreign places. 
  10. Never be seen to eat in Nando’s. Shop at Lidl, better still get your staff to shop there and put the savings in you personal pension fund. 
  11. Make friends with the wife of an Eton Educated Prime Minister.
  12. Don’t lend money to your friends, enemies or Greece. 
  13. Choose your family, make sure they are not poor.
  14. Blame it all on immigration, the weather and the 1960’s.
  15. Don’t use public transport in case you pick up a nasty infection, or see a poor person with their  funny ideas about ‘social solidarity’. 
  16. Avoid the the pinko soft liberal BBC with its bias towards the NHS, unless its ‘Gardner’s Question Time’. Support Murdoch and his chums in their quest to kill the BBC off, that way you won’t have to listen to that dreadful leftie Huw ‘Look at me I’m Welsh’ Edwards telling you how the NHS needs more money (your money). We all know how the Welsh are to the left of Lenin, its all those valleys, phlegm and close harmony singing that does it. Makes the brain damp with all that rain. 
  17. Never refer to facts, academic research or social science in case the facts get in the way of your arguments about privatizing health and education. General taxation for both may cost you money which will not be available to you to pay for care. In any case, facts only make life uncomfortable and can, if exposed to them for long enough, begin to change your mind about the undeserving underclass.
  18. Go to to Eton for your schooling. If thats not possible make lots of friends who did. 
  19. Consider moving to London; not Southwark or anywhere else south of the river of course. 
  20. Don’t mix with the ‘little people’; you know, the ones who actually pay tax. I refer you to point 15. They might pester you with ridiculous ideas about collective action or how the NHS is worth saving.
  21. You could of course just die early.
  22. Switzerland. Now, I’ve heard its a lovely country.

Thats my recipe for beating dementia. I forgot the other two. 

You may wish to refer to this list as “Tory Health Policy”, or ‘F*ck you jack, I’m all right’.

Published by Lance Goodman

Freelance writer, bon vivant and all-round good oeuf.

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