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Almost 7 years to the day since I started I am about to hand in the amended version of my thesis and hope that this time it will be accepted. It is certainly in far better shape than the original version which I basically did on my own with professional help only with the interviews and the statistics.

Both of my current supervisors and the previous examiners said that I should publish it (presumably parts of it) but I will need guidance about which bits and where to publish. I am getting ever more sceptical about the ‘youngsters’ involved in ageing research. They think that they know everything and don’t seem to realise that their knowledge largely comes from the research of other younger people, and none of them have any knowledge of the ageing process itself. Publishing my work for them would seem to be a waste of time.

I am constantly reminded of conferences on women’s issues a hundred years ago, run by men, with male speakers and a largely male audience with a few token women, presumably chosen for their compliance! Not surprisingly, nothing remains of their deliberations the same fate I anticipate will befall today’s conferences on ageing. Men thought that women were too stupid to have anything worthwhile to say and presumably today’s conference organisers feel the same about older people, regardless of the fact that many of us are more highly qualified than them and many older people have achieved far more. Most of the innovations made in the last 40 years were made by today’s retirees!

It is through the attitudes of these know-it-all youngsters that the ageing population today is regarded as a problem rather than an asset. The trouble is that unless these unintelligent, self-appointed speakers for the ageing get out of the way and allow our voices to be heard we will become a problem.

One of my arguments is that the later stage of life is a wonderful opportunity to achieve. If I really believe this then it is a challenge to me to follow this through now that my seven years of research is coming to an end. Do I publish as advised although I am now starting to doubt the benefit of doing so for readers who can’t see the flaws in their work resulting from omitting older people and their experience and opinions? Or do I follow my own separate pathway and publish independently and possibly set up my own website and Facebook?

These are the decisions I must make following research into these different opportunities. Being 75 and independent is certainly a very exciting time of life!

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