As I wait for the examiners of my thesis to come up with a verdict I am trying to move forward to the next stage of my life. I am still intending to write a book about my research but this time I want to aim it at older people. In my last attempt I tried to write something that would appeal to this group and to academics from the field of gerontology but the two groups have little in common. The latter seem to be established in the ‘publish or perish’ world of academia which seems to have little to do with the real world of the ageing.

I have presented papers at several international conferences, as well as here in Australia, but I’m beginning to realise what I am saying has fallen on deaf ears. The academics attending them know what they want to hear, which seems to have little to do with real life ageing, and are deaf to all else. I realised this after I presented a paper at a conference on ageing, jointly organised by the gerontologists and the aged care providers. The response to my talk was much more positive and I was invited to present it at the state conference of the care providers who are the real workers at the ageing coal face. I have also been invited to speak at the annual dinner of a group of care providers. This seems to be where the real action is.

As a result of all this it has occurred to me that if we want change it must come from ourselves, the older cohort. Unfortunately many of us are no longer capable of chaining ourselves to garden railings and marching through the streets as the suffragettes did to reverse sexism so I realised that I was going to have to follow my own advice and go on-line to unite us. Fortunately our local Writers Centre, which is very pro-active, is running short courses on such things as using Facebook and twitter to promote our writing and interests so that should give me a boost up. In theory, older people across the developed world are suffering from the same problem (ageism) and are treated as second class citizens so that we should be able to unite through on-line media and achieve a better deal, not only for ourselves but also for our countries and the world. With all our knowledge, wisdom and experience we have a lot to offer. If we step back and look at the present world it definitely needs all these attributes.

Meanwhile the on-line field is one where I am definitely wearing ‘L’ plates. I need to work my way up quickly. What enormous strength and influence we could have if the many millions of older people in the world were to unite through this means under the common banner of better conditions and respect for ourselves, our countries and the world in which we all live. If you doubt what I am saying watch the news tonight and listen as though you are not part of the world being described; watch and listen as an outsider. The polluted world and its often warring inhabitants are not a pretty sight are they?

The world has been a much better place, and smarter, since women in many countries united and presented a common front to achieve their rightful place in the world. Now it is time for older people to do the same, using the internet to overcome any physical problems we may have. We have a unique opportunity to work towards the type of world of which we can be proud.

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