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  • Writer's picturechris walsh

How we baby boomers can help others in need

We send a lot of our time , often quite rightly, bemoaning both the reduction in our quality of life and our increasing personal problems, both in relation to health provision, increasing costs, and the impact of declining public services. But for those of us who have been fortunate enough to have bought our own homes and seen the value increase, to have had good work contracts and employer pensions ( often resulting from having strong trade unions) which gave us decent levels of retirement income on top of our state pensions as well as being the beneficiaries of widening education and training, many scientific and medical advances, life has treated us well, certainly better than our forebears before and during WW2, and unfortunately better than our grandchildren can reasonably look forward to.

So perhaps this is a time for us as a generation to ponder how we can help others less fortunate than ourselves, others of our age who are now living in poor rented accommodation, those totally reliant on state pensions or benefits, those who are disabled or long term sick as well as other generations less well off.

Many of us are already doing our best, through volunteering ( we make up the majority of volunteers) and through caring ( 50- 66 year olds, the majority of whom are women make up over half of all carers).

But as the generation who were active campaigners for a better world, leading to the rise in feminism, in anti racism, in disability rights and in raising early concerns around the environment and global warming perhaps now is the time to join with younger people in supporting their campaigns to save the planet, and address the burning issues of inequality and poverty. There is I think not a great disparity between the issues that many of us in the age movement have been trying to address through our research, conferences, recommendations and actions in our campaigns for an age friendly London and UK and those that younger generations are taking up, using different media and actions but addressing the same fundamentals. Making London and the UK accessible to all, with well run, affordable public transport, giving those that rent basic rights and rent controls, getting the NHS back on its feet to be able to offer everyone GP appointments face to face, having consultations, tests and treatments within a short time frame, reducing pollution on our streets, in our built environments and countryside, returning to having clean rivers and beaches, combating poverty and removing the terrible choice of heat or eat and working towards a net zero which is our only hope for the future.

We seniors have much to offer in these campaigns, not just money, but expertise and experience, solidarity with those that are trying to make the world a better place and joining in at a personal, local, community and public national level to make a difference. This does not just help make real the slogan of Intergenerational Solidarity and bring people together to affect change but also improves our lives, brings the happiness of collective action and helps overcome the loneliness and isolation many of us suffer from

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