200 Steps of Ageing. Part 5

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Age 66:
- If you had a manual job or have bad genes then your back will most likely cause you pain some of the time.
- You will probably have bad hips and will require a hip replacement in the next ten years or so. This will be regardless of whether you had a manual or office job in your working life.
- If you have retired then there is a high chance that your entire existence will have changed from working every day, to finding things to fill the time.
- Your hobbies will become those that donít require physical exertion.

Age 70:
- Your body will be deteriorating, but not necessarily at the rate that people much younger than you will think it is.
- You will often fall asleep in public, for example in theatres, cinemas, lectures and so on.
- Younger people will make outrageous remarks about you to your face, saying "I hope Iím like you when I'm seventy", in the belief that seventy is extremely old, and as if most seventy year olds spend their time in wheelchairs. However you wonít be as fit as you used to be.
- If you are a manual worker you may still be stronger than say an average twenty five year old office worker.
- You will feel more obliged than before to downsize and move into a smaller house that requires less maintenance.
- Any whacky personality traits you used to have when you were in your twenties will now be interpreted by others as being signs of dementia. I'm not saying that you won't have dementia, but people will assume it anyway. If you were to scrutinize the behaviour of literally anyone of any age, you would find things that seemed inconsistent and irrational, and that could be taken to be signs of brain problems. When you reach a certain age, other people will be actively looking out for them in you.
- You will also become more absent minded. This will be most obvious in you forgetting to lock doors.
- You will be less bothered about maintenance on your house, yourself and so on.
- You will drive with much less skill than you ever did before. Your reactions will be much slower. When driving it might take you half a second to react to a sudden event. Other people will notice this instantly, but you won't.
- After this age, if you are lucky you may one day stop driving through your own choice or because friends or relatives tell you it is wise; if you are unlucky you will stop driving because you are in a serious accident.
- Giving up driving is incredibly difficult as you will lose your independence. If you live in a part of the countryside where there are no buses, you will either starve to death or be reliant on other people.
- You will struggle to hire cars because car rental companies usually have an age limit of seventy years old. Their insurance won't cover anyone older. You might think this unfair, but younger people around you will notice that you aren't as good a driver as you used to be.
- People who know you well may notice that your mental abilities are deteriorating.
- You will become described as one of "the elderly".
- Even if you are generally healthy, there will begin to be more occasions when your decreased strength and fitness prevent you from doing something that you would have been able to do years before. For example carrying a heavy box or climbing over a fence.
- You will keep lots of pain killers in the house for age related pain.
- If you are married then there is a chance that one of you will currently be looking after the other one until their imminent death (perhaps because of illness, dementia etc). One of you will be a reluctant carer forced into the position.
- Your skin will begin to take on a more shiny palid complexion. The wrinkles in your skin will stop looking rubbery, and start to look almost metallic.
- You may have reached the point where you are unable to do activities you like without painkillers (such as going for long walks) and you have to decide whether to stop doing them or become someone who is permanently on pills.
- If you were someone who enjoyed having authority in your early life, then now is the time that you will realise that your power has altered. Your age will mean that you are losing any authority you had. Soon you will have as much power as a child, but without having society fight your case for you.
- You might still be oblivious to how short a time of useful life you have left, but it will begin to dawn on you as you see your friends become less able to look after themselves, and then die.
- You won't understand a lot of TV adverts that make sense to younger people.
- You will be perpetually amazed by new technology that a younger person might take as a natural step in the progression of technology.
- You will become more confused than ever before over slight variations in routine life. For example if something doesn't work for a moment, you might think that it's broken, whereas a younger person would wait to see first. If someone turns up at the door, you might remark that it is extremely odd and make a big deal out of it, while a younger person might not think anything of it.
- You will have a lack of things to fill your time so will end up taking pleasure in menial tasks that most people would go out of their way to put off doing e.g. cleaning out the oven or building a boat out of matchsticks.
- You will be much more interested in gardening than ever before. Gardening is a hobby that can be performed without much strength or exercise. As your social life decreases, your garden will become more significant in your life.
- You will become more obstinate.
- You will be more likely to resent the modern laws of your country, and will probably make a point of telling people so. The more recent laws brought in will make you angry, while younger people will think them perfectly sensible. A good example being the banning of dangerous objects: guns, dogs, chemicals, cigarettes etc.
- If you were someone who used to brag about lifting two hundred weight sacks in your youth, now you can brag about the terrible back pain you have.
- You may develop long hairs on areas where you never had hair before, such as the outside of your nose.

At this point in life the variation in abilities for each person varies massively from person to person. Some seventy five year olds are as frail as some ninety year olds, while others are stronger than a lot of twenty five year olds.

Age 75:
- People will begin to treat you differently based on how old you look.
- It is unlikely that your parents are still alive.
- You may have to get up in the middle of the night to urinate.
- There will be no one your age in politics so your age group will be unrepresented. Your age group is also unrepresented in television and films too, except for in comedy roles. You are now an outsider on the fringe of society.
- When you fall asleep in public, some people will wonder if you are actually dead.
- Your use of your first language is generally that of 55-65 years ago, and words that have become less common which you still use, will appear odd to much younger people. For example, Centigrade, wireless (when referring to a radio receiver) etc. Any catchphrases that people on the television and stage said in your childhood will be completely meaningless to people of your grandchildrenís age. "Donít tell him, Pike!" or "we were on a break" will have no cultural meaning in the future.
- Some words that you use every day will have become rude, due to constantly evolving slang, but it is less likely now that people will correct you for fear of embarrassment.
- You will love routine.
- The music of your youth may still have some popularity among younger people. For example 1950s Elvis and early Beatles and Rolling Stones songs are still popular with some eighteen year olds now. However time will have filtered out a lot of the acts of your youth into near non-existence.
- You will most likely have problems with your hearing.
- If you are mugged it will make the news because of your age, and you will be portrayed as the most feeble of victims. If you fight off your attacker, people will be amazed. You won't be described as 'a former boxer', 'former soldier', 'former labourer', 'former martial artist' etc, but just as 'an old person' or 'pensioner', and 'old people' are seen as feeble and helpless.
- If you break the law, younger uninformed people will be amazed 'because of your age' as if older adults were incapable of doing anything illegal.
- If you play the guitar well then people will be amazed as guitars are the tool of a young person, and old people aren't meant to do 'young person things'.
- The fact you look old will be deemed to mean you are stupid too.
- People will hold the door open for you much more often than they ever did before. It will often be because they want to help an 'old' person, than out of everyday politeness. They might open the door with a flourish to demonstrate to everyone that they are being helpful. In reality they are just raising their status by lowering yours.
- You will collect things, and your house will become much more cluttered. Shelves will be full and any flat surface will be covered in objects. This will partly be because you will have accumulated things over your entire life and so have more possessions, but also because you will become more of a hoarder and not notice clutter as much as you used to.
- The clothes you wear will most likely be based around what you considered fashionable thirty years ago. As more and more people your age die, the number of people wearing your type of clothing will get rarer, and people will think some of your outfits odd. Nowadays this can be seen in high trousers, crevattes, and head scarves such as the Queen wears.
- When you were younger, if you were injured, paralysed or disabled in some way, society would think it proper that you were helped in your own home. You would be expected to continue to live an independent and normal life. As you get older, if you become disabled in some way, people will think it more appropriate that you be put into a care home.
- If you are unfortunate enough to have a slightly disabling injury or illness, and ended up in a care home you will be surrounded by people in a much worse mental state than you.
- Your posture will begin to alter so that you are more bowed than you were before. In women this bowing will be more pronounced. This bowing will continue for the rest of your life.
- If you are someone who is overweight with a rounded figure, you will be much less likely to live past this age than everyone else. The people who will live the longest will be those who are of a slim build, who remain active. However, women of a slim build may suffer from brittle bones.
- You will find it harder to keep a steady hand. Your handwriting will become wavy and will get worse as time goes on.
- No one could ever describe you as young. You are old.
- You will walk slowly not just because you are slower, but also to stop or reduce the pain.

Age 80:
- You are becoming weaker.
- Your bones will be more brittle.
- You will be more wary of young people running about in case they knock into you.
- You will be much more likely to trip and fall over as you are not as agile, stable or observant as you used to be.
- When you fall over you are much more likely to break something than ever before. Often people your age will break a hip.
- If you had a talent before, you will not be able to do it as well and might not be able to do it at all.
- If you are still driving, you will drive like a slightly drunk thirty year old. You will drive very slowly to compensate, and probably carry on at the same speed through towns even if that involves going over the speed limit. If you are stopped by a policeman, it is unlikely you will get into any trouble.
- Younger people (those younger than sixty five) will begin to patronise you. They will speak to you as if you were a child, in a simplistic way. They will tell you to be careful, they will help you lift things, they will guide you with their hands on your shoulder. If you complain about this you will be seen as a horrible old person. You just have to accept it.
- You will be less capable of looking after yourself well.
- Depending on your health, you may want to move into a nursing home to avoid being a burden on your relatives. Your relatives may secretly want the same, but will feel terrible about it. If you don't put the idea forward yourself, you are condemning your relatives to either being full time carers or to feeling horrifically guilty for the rest of their lives. If you do put the idea forward yourself then you are condemning yourself to what is essentially an open prison.
- If you are really lucky and have lots of money then you can pay for carers and nurses instead of going into a home, but this can be more expensive than living in a top hotel.
- You will begin to neglect things that once you cared about. For example, you will cease doing repairs to your house. You will subscribe to the view that "it will see me out" and that there is little point spending large amounts of money repairing or caring for things that will last in a slightly bad state until after you have died. If the roof leaks, is there any point spending money making it last for another forty years if you might not be around in five?
- You and the people you know will not be surprised if you should die in the next few years.
- You will probably take an interest in garden birds. You can watch them without having to go outside and without help.
- It is unlikely that many of the musicians, performers, actors and so on from when you were a child are alive, given that they would have all been older than you.

Age 85:
- If you are in a home, you are at the age when carers will want to do everything for you, even though it is taking away your independence. They will pour the water and milk for your tea, they will put you in the bath, they will switch the lights on and off. You will lose the ability to be independent because of this, but it almost unavoidable as there wonít be the number of employees or the time for them to wait while you slowly do things for yourself.
- If you are in a home, you will be a prisoner and the carers will be your (well-meaning) prison guards. If a carer were ever rude to you, you might not want to mention it to your relatives so as not to upset anyone.
- In a home with few staff, you and the other occupants may be forced to sit in a large room together because it's the only way that you can be supervised easily. You will have no choice in this even if you hate it. Outsiders to the home will think it must be annoying, but no one will really care that much. The alternative would cost much more so it's easier to just ignore it.
- The medical world will consider you a less important person to repair than someone twenty or more years younger. Doctors will be reluctant to operate on you, or to spend a lot of time fixing you, because they wonít think that you will live long enough to make it "worth their while". They may say this to your face, they may say it to your relatives, or they may just keep it to themselves, but in their eyes you aren't worth fixing. Even though you might easily live another fifteen years to twenty years, they don't want to waste time and effort on someone who might die at any point. There will also be fewer people to argue on your behalf so the doctors won't be contradicted.
- Because you are slower, more prone to being confused, and harder of hearing, younger people will think nothing of getting impatient and angry with you in frustration.

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