My wait to find out if my thesis will be accepted for a Ph D is nearly over. I have now heard back from the two examiners. One is even more supportive than she was last time but the other has retreated and wants me to fail. He isn’t even consistent with what he said last time it was submitted to him. Previously he said that it contained material worth publishing but this time not, even though it is largely the same document.

I think the clue to his thinking is his statement that he describes me as ageist for asserting that research teams do not include older people and I am not acknowledging the age of many researchers (the sentence was grammatically incorrect so it was difficult to understand what he was trying to say). In reading the research there is rarely if ever an acknowledgement of older people being involved (as there should be if they were involved) and certainly in my attendance at conferences I rarely see, or hear the voices of, other older people.

A couple of years ago the British government decided that grants for research into ageing would only be given if older people were involved. It is only a matter of time before we follow the same path here. It obviously would produce better research which is why the UK government has introduced it. The problem is that it places in doubt research done prior to this and therefore the whole careers of researchers in the field. No wonder he is against my Ph D being accepted if he feels threatened by it. As I’ve said before there are so many parallels between the way older people are treated today and the way women were in the past. Women would have had to fight to have their voices heard in the literature on women’s issues, and they weren’t allowed to participate in conferences on the subject. I seem to be following a long line of discrimination.

So it raises the question of the difference getting my Ph D or not will make. I have been given permission by Alzheimer’s to interview their members to see whether my assertion that we need a purpose in all stages of life, including the later stage, could prevent, or delay the progress, of the disease. Research shows that if people with Parkinson’s disease have a purpose in life the progress of the disease is slowed. Will I be allowed to pursue this with Alzheimer’s if I don’t have a Ph D? I don’t know.

My other dream is to write a book on ageing for older people so we understand ourselves better. This will still go ahead but it will be accepted more if it is written by a ‘Dr’. At least by the end of this month the waiting should be over. I just have to wait for a panel to decide. Disappointingly my numerous presentations at International and regional conferences aren’t regarded as an acknowledgement that the academic community accepts my research nor are my recent invitations to address two aged care services communities, indicating that my work is acknowledged by them, accepted as recognition of my work. Academia is a strange place.

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