“Older people are the glue that hold our society together.”*

*Age UK spokesperson

When the priority list for the run out of the Convid 19 coronavirus vaccine some queried the placing of those 80 and older amongst carers, cared for, and health worker

This based on the optimal strategy for minimising future deaths or quality adjusted life year (QALY) losses is to offer vaccination to older age groups first. Which “save the young by vaccinating the old” sounded perverse.

After all in recent times the following comment is typical: “The young tax-paying population has to fund, to its detriment, an ageing society.” – newspaper comment.

Politicians and the media daily told of an older generation that could not be afforded, having escaped the austerity cuts endured by the rest of the population, they should lose benefits such as free bus travel, winter fuel allowance, free prescriptions and TV licences. “The young are paying for the old now and in the future” they claimed.

In fact our twelve million older people are central, some say critically so, to Britain’s economy. “ Older people” are not an amorphous mass but millions of individuals with different backgrounds, wealth, health, and demeanour.

A half of grandmothers and fathers work and a third pay taxes. They care for each other and their grand children, they fill theatres and cinemas, buy books and newspapers, listen to and watch news and current affairs programmes and join phone-ins.

Charities would founder, sporting, cultural and leisure centres close if it were not for older peoples attendance at and their voluntary, unpaid labour not used in them.

A 2010 a survey by the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service showed that all of this contributed an astonishing £40 billion net to the economy. Proof above that Older people are the glue that hold our society together.”*

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