Been there, done that…


Opinion – The Age of Reason – By Peter Carr.

It would be pleasing to escape from the dreariness of the degree of care being thrust at elderly people during the Covid period. I do not object to that care but sometimes feel that the manner by which it is dispensed treats us as mindless and incapable of clear and sensible thought.

But in the majority the people who are dispensing this ‘we are looking after you’ theme – be they politicians, retirement village management or families need to be aware that these are people who have struggled through life successfully, have a good degree of competence and can actually read newspapers. Clearly those of a younger mould are still catching up with this wealth of experience. Reeling the line further in why is it that children 12 years and over must wear masks on the school bus but those under are not required to do so? Why is it, now they are at Level 2.5, that residents of Auckland are all perceived to be very unclean, possibly not careful enough and do not wear masks to the degree that is evident overseas?

Be that as it may we are all in this same boat together. I get it that residents of retirement care homes of the old-fashioned variety, are very prone to the virus – especially where they are corralled together in a circle in an over-heated room looking at each other. I get it that people who deliberately walk past both the Covid yellow app sign and the sign-in page without signing at the local coffee shop should be apprehended. But in a brief survey over 30 minutes at my regular caffeine establishment last week I noted that 50 percent deliberately ignored the availability quite properly put there by the shop owner. Should she apprehend them? If she did would they walk out and never return? Should she be wary about her well depleted income this year and decide that business economy has a lesser risk that an ignorant customer? Quite a decision to have to make.

Somewhere there is a magic age at which one becomes more prevalent to becoming unwell. If someone would be kind enough to explain to me whether that is 65, 70, 75 or 80 I can then approach life in a more balanced way. At 65 I can be the recipient of the pension and the Gold Card. At 75 I had to re-apply for my driving license. At 80 – not there yet – the driving license will need the support of one’s medical adviser. And there is a misconception out there that optometrists can actually state that someone is allowed to drive because their eye-sight is good – even if they can only see out of one eye. Unless one has a rubber neck and a superb swivel in one’s spine safe driving of the single eye variety is a matter that the insurance industry should take appropriate notice.

All of this is quite depressing but very real. As one advances in years, pleasured at having reached this far, it is much easier to reflect that what has been thrust upon us, while serious, is just yet another of life’s challenges. The horrors of war, overseas funds needed to buy a car, over-subsidised farmers, carless days, compulsory military training, mortgage rates approaching 20 per cent, poor infrastructure etc. All of these have been met up front, experienced, dealt with and we have moved on.

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