Labour’s Harriet Harman cites interesting but not surprising new figures which say that 82 per cent of broadcast presenters over 50 are men. This we agree is not good. But, ironically it appears to me that women often get a better deal on employment in their 50s and into their 60s, than their male counterparts. This is because women (if they work at it) can look more appealing than men of the same age. They tend to be prettier to start with and seem to blossom as PRs, administrators, estate agents, airport, event and shop personnel, teachers etc.
The less glamorous male finds it hard to look younger, not yet having the nerve to use facial surgery or botox, while fighting grey hairs and hair loss. Few apart from Elton John can pretend hair loss isn’t happening, though I do know one or two men who swear by the hair lotions which they believe postpone the cruel hair thinning process.
It’s worth checking out how Age UK Enterprises insurance compares with the competition. It now offers a range of products including home car and travel insurance. Whenever I have come across Age UK they have impressed by its thoroughness and good sense and they do specialise in the needs of the older person.
One of the best aspects of modern life is that from the NHS down, older folk are encouraged to do more exercise – the ‘gym n’ tonic’ crowd. They have the time after all and indeed have every motive to keep active and health aware.
A neighbour of mine, aged 80, had a hip operation and was invited by her GP to go to free keep fit classes at the local hospital. She had never been to an exercise class in her life and was a little anxious, but she is rather proud of herself for doing it and now goes every week.
In Australia, I learn, there are more and more free fitness clubs for the elderly, which encourages people to join and eventually makes for a virtuous circle of participants, who like the social aspect as much as anything.
I joined a Scottish Dancing class last year amid howls of laughter from my family. I felt like a change from the gym which I have never found a social hub. Although I did feel gracelessly incompetent for many months, eventually I began to get the idea and found I could enjoy it. The good thing about dancing – salsa, Morris, the waltz, you name it – is it is cardiovascular exercise. Such hobbies often seem to attract delightful people of all ages who enhance the experience. So don’t be shy, go incognito and give it a try.
Always dreamed about taking a pampering few days in a health spa? Going to Austria need not break the bank. The Wellnesshotel group of hotels there have special offers for those who are 50+. For example, 548 euros will buy five nights for the cost of four at one of its hotels with all sorts included – accommodation, food, pampering, beauty treatments, sports etc. Rather fun especially if done with a similarly lotus-eating friend keen on appearance.