Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?
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Most people who are 64 are not sick, are not disabled, are not desperately poor, are reasonably well housed and like the locations they live in. There are however significant numbers that do have difficulties in many areas. The message I keep stressing is that we must discard the totally inappropriate stereotype that older people are problems, and concentrate instead, on the problems they have. To do so requires good policy analysis, strong community responsiveness and very importantly, the elimination or unrealistic, patronising and unhelpful stereotypes. Analysing the demographics we have greater life expectancy at birth and at all advanced ages, substantial drops in age specific mortality rates at higher ages, high rates of chronicity, a surplus of women at higher age groups, most of whom have no spouse, nearly all older people living in private dwellings, nearly all older people with handicaps living in private dwellings, a nursing home population with a median age approaching 85 and a situation soon in which half of our over 65s will be over 75.
Speech given at the Extended Care Society of Victoria Seminar, Melbourne, 8th June 1988, by Adam Graycar, Commissioner for the Ageing, Adelaide, South Australia. This speech is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/